The Glenwood Gators knew that in order to find themselves in a close game with Autauga Academy, the Gators had to play a near-perfect game. That scenario didn’t come to fruition Friday night.
Glenwood (7-3, 2-2) couldn’t keep up with the high-powered Generals, and two fumbles, a blocked punt and a safety in the first half made a bad situation worse in a 43-0 loss for the Gators. Glenwood ended the first half with only 61 yards against AISA’s top-ranked team and was shut out for the first time since November 2015.
“We didn’t play well,” Glenwood head coach Jason Gibson said. “You can’t make mistakes against the best team in AISA, and that’s the best team in AISA. When you make mistakes like that, you dig a hole. You have to play a perfect game to have a chance to win. Obviously, we didn’t play a perfect game.”
Autauga (6-2, 3-0) set the stage offensively in the first quarter.
Running back Ferontay Cutler took his fifth carry of the night and made it a worthwhile one, bouncing off a would-be tackler on a run to the right that became a 21-yard touchdown. The score made the game 7-0 with 5:29 to go in the first quarter.
Autauga’s Tyreshon Freeman may have been the Generals’ second-string quarterback, but he played like the squad’s go-to player against the Gators. After starter Octavious Palmer went out with an injury, Freeman took over and stretched the lead to 14-0 on a 10-yard run to his right with 1:52 left in the first quarter on what was just the start of a big night from the senior.
As Glenwood sought some momentum on offense, the Generals just kept rolling.
Shortly after blocking a Gators punt, Freeman threw to his left toward Dominique Webster, who made the catch, raced to the goal line and dove in for a 11-yard touchdown. The missed extra point — which left the score 20-0 with 9:35 to go until halftime — was one of very few mistakes the Generals made on the evening.
Following a Glenwood three-and-out, Freeman finished another Generals’ drive with an 18-yard touchdown run to put Autauga ahead 27-0 with 4:02 left in the second quarter. He ended the night with 11 carries for 88 yards and three touchdowns as well as going 6-of-15 passing with 105 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
The situation only got worse for the Gators after Freeman’s second rushing touchdown. After an intentional grounding penalty pushed the Gators back to their own 3-yard line, the Generals trapped Glenwood quarterback Bryce Newman in the end zone and brought him down for a safety.
The play left the score 29-0 with 3:32 remaining until the break.
The Generals got the ball back after Glenwood’s free kick and made it 36-0 when Freeman threw a dart downfield and found Teddy Harris in the end zone for a 35-yard pitch-and-catch.
Both sides used the second half to primarily work in backup players and melt the clock away. Glenwood junior running back Kye Robichaux had the Gators moving the football downfield on several drives, but Glenwood had two second-half turnovers that ended any hopes of getting on the scoreboard.
Robichaux had 16 carries for 151 yards in the loss.
Freeman added one more score to his already-impressive outing on a 20-yard touchdown run with 7:20 to go in the contest. The running clock quickly took care of the rest of the time, leaving the Gators to quickly huddle together in the postgame before heading to the locker room.
Glenwood will return to action on Friday at Macon-East Academy in the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs. Autuaga, meanwhile, will host its first-round game in the Class AA playoffs.
Gibson made it clear that losing to a team of Autauga’s caliber doesn’t say anything about how far the Gators can go this postseason.
“We lost to them 61-14 last season, and the postseason went pretty well for us,” Gibson said, referring to the team’s run to the Class AAA semifinals. “There’s some issues there, but this game’s over with. We’ll move on.”
Autauga Academy 43, Glenwood 0
AUT — 14 22 0 7 — 43
GLE — 0 0 0 0 — 0
AUT — Ferontay Cutler 21-yard run (XP good), 5:29
AUT — Tyreshon Freeman 10-yard run (XP good), 1:52
AUT — Dominique Webster 11-yard reception from Freeman (XP no good), 9:35
AUT — Freeman 18-yard run (XP good), 4:02
AUT — Defensive safety, 3:32
AUT — Teddy Harris 35-yard reception from Freeman (XP good), 2:38
AUT — Freeman 20-yard run (XP good), 7:23