Saints Stifled by Stallions in Home Opener
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The Holy Spirit Saints hosted its first varsity football game since 2018 on Friday against the South Lamar Stallions. The game may have ended in a 41-13 final score in favor of South Lamar, but the Saints faithful stayed energetic the entire game as the school welcomed football back to its campus.
South Lamar kicked off the scoring early as senior running Charles Neal gashed the Saints defense for a 68-yard touchdown run on their opening possession. Neal ended up being the player of the game with his scoring rushes alone totaling up to 130 yards.
After a volley of punts and turnovers on downs, South Lamar found pay dirt again on its third possession. Neal found the end zone from 32 yards out, making the score 14-0 with 8:14 left in the first half.
Holy Spirit's offense finally put all the pieces together with 4:18 to go in the second quarter. Junior quarterback Kalen Oswalt was finally able to hit senior wide receiver Will Collins from 13 yards out, a connection the Saints had been trying to make all night. The play was set up by a bruising first down run by junior running back Reed Simmons and a facemask call against the Stallions.
Just before halftime, Neal made his presence felt once again and ran it in from 19 yards out. The Stallions got the ball one more time before the end of the half due to a fumbled kickoff by the Saints, but no points came off of it.
To open the second half, Holy Spirit pulled out some trickery and successfully converted an onside kick. With the ensuing snap being a 50 strike from Oswalt to Collins for a touchdown, momentum seemed to be swinging towards the Saints. Unfortunately for them, the 20-13 score would be the closest the game would get and those points would be their last.
After driving on the ground with a series of runs from Neal and junior Kade McAdams, Neal punched it in for the last time from 11 yards out and made the score 27-13. Following a Holy Spirit punt, South Lamar pulled out the dagger again as junior Adam Watkins ran it in from 65 yards out on the opening play of the drive.
The final scoring play of the night came on a 2-yard run from junior Zach Parker with just two minutes left, making the final tally 41-13.
After the game, Holy Spirit head coach Bob Snyder said that despite the final score, he was extremely proud of his boys.
"They played hard. Everybody on this team is playing their second Friday night game. We can't use that as an excuse forever, but right now I will take how hard they played and how much heart they have," said Snyder. "We'll just keep on building on that and we're gonna win ball games. The wins are there."
South Lamar coach Clay Gilliam says that despite the success running the ball all night, he wants the guys up front to continue to get better.
"We gotta do a better job up front," said Gilliam. "In general up front, but they did do a good job tonight and I was around of them."
Next week, Holy Spirit plays host to Hubbertville while South Lamar is on a bye week.