The Glenwood Gators have momentum on their side after a big rivalry win last week. In order to keep riding that wave, they’ll have to take down one of AISA’s best tonight.
Glenwood (7-2, 2-2) hosts Autauga Academy (5-2, 3-0) in the regular season finale for both teams. The Gators enter as AISA’s No. 7 team, while the Generals are now No. 1 after beating Edgewood Academy 48-9 last week.
The Gators turn their attentions to the reigning Class AA state champions after beating rival Lee-Scott 29-20 on the road last week.
Glenwood head coach Jason Gibson was happy with the team’s defense against the Warriors, especially given how hard it is to stop Lee-Scott’s Wing-T offense. He was particularly impressed with quarterback Jackson Griner, who stepped up and had a 15-yard touchdown run and a 21-yard touchdown pass to Marco Dominquez in the victory.
“We knew he had (the ability). He’s run some plays throughout the season where we’ve put him in, and he’s scored almost every time he touches it,” Gibson said of Griner. “I just thought at that time in the game for what we’re doing at this point in the season I wanted to give him the opportunity to go out there and show what he could do.
“(Kye) Robichaux was hurt, and Darryl Monn was hurt. We had both tailbacks hurting, so I had to figure out a way to generate yards. He stepped up.”
Glenwood’s win over Lee-Scott gave the Gators the No. 3 seed from Region 1-AAA. Before they start the postseason, they have to take on the Generals.
Gibson considered the matchup as just what the Gators needed before the postseason begins.
“The competition gets you ready for the playoffs,” Gibson said. “The only way to get better is to play better. It’s a challenge.”
Gibson laughed when asked what stands out about Autauga and added that all 22 players on the field do. He credited the Generals for having talent across the board, for being well-coached and for having a history of bringing in great players and putting them in position to succeed.
Gibson pointed to Willie Willis, Dominique Webster, Ferontay Cutler, Octavious Palmer, Tyreshon Freeman, Jakerian Willis and Teddy Harris as Autauga players who stand out on both sides of the ball.
Gibson stressed not turning the ball over on offense tonight as well as sustaining long drives in order to keep the Generals’ offense off the field. Gibson pointed to too many three-and-outs as a huge factor in Autauga’s 61-14 win in the series last year, adding that the Generals forced punt after punt last October then turned around and scored on their first play of the ensuing drive.
Glenwood has stood out as one of the top teams in AISA this fall and even spent a week ranked at No. 1. Although it has no bearings on their postseason hopes, a win tonight would solidify the Gators’ belief that they can make a deep playoff run.
“It would be huge. Honestly, the number one goal is I want to win senior night for our seniors,” Gibson said. “I don’t care what our record is, and I don’t care if we’re going to the playoffs. I want our seniors to win their final game at home. That is what we have to do. I’ll worry about the playoffs next week.
“Somebody asked me if we plan to win this game. Yeah, I mean, why would we schedule it?”