West Alabama celebrated senior night and played their last regular season game this past Saturday at Tiger Stadium. Each senior was recognized for their dedication to the team as Head Coach Will Hall individually presented each player a rose for their mother, pictures for remembrance and a proud hug.
The Tigers dominated the first quarter with three touchdowns in the first eight minutes, while forcing Central State to punt at fourth down on every possession. UWA held a 21-0 lead until the end of the first quarter after Central State ran in a two yard touchdown. Central added another touchdown quickly into the second quarter, with a twenty yard pass into the end zone.
Javae Swindle put the game back in UWA’s hands with a six yard rush into the end zone. Central found the end zone two more times within the second quarter, which was also their last.
The Tigers headed into the locker room with a 42-28 lead over Central. Central was still hyped from their sack on Quarter Back Kyle Caldwell as they headed to the opponent locker room showing unsportsman like behavior towards UWA as they screamed with pride, which did them no good come second half. The Tigers showed class as they ignored Central’s unnecessary behavior heading into the locker room. Instead of allowing them to affect their game, UWA came out stronger and shut the Marauders down for the rest of the game.
The second half belonged wholly to our Tigers, as points were continuously added to the scoreboard. Swindle recorded his biggest rush with an eighty eight yard rush in the top of the third quarter; giving the Marauders a taste of what the rest of the game would feel like.
Quarterback Caldwell gave UWA three back to back touchdowns with a completed six yard pass to wide receiver Chad Toocheck, a 13 yard pass to Ty Morgan and a five yard run in from himself.
At the top of the fourth, Malik Lofton returned a Central punt for eighty eight yards and found the end zone; making the score 77-28. The Tiger’s continued to rack up points with a one yard run in by Reggie Hall and fifty two yard rush into the end zone by Senior Quarterback Gary Johnston.
Kicker Mark Grant was thirteen for thirteen for all PAT’s. After his final PAT, a central player blindsided Grant after the play was done. The game came to a halt as players, coaches and fans were concerned for their Tigers, yet fueled with anger for the cheap shot that was made. Grant was able to walk off the field, but suffered a concussion and had to sit out for the remainder of the game. Redshirted freshman Garret Mattix took the field and kicked his first career kick off for UWA’s final kick of the game.
The Tiger’s finished the game with a shut out score of 91-28 and a broken record of 5,930 offensive yards within just eleven games.
Swindle broke his own rushing record in a single game tonight with a total of 280 yards in only 19 carries; making his overall 2013 record 1,296 rushing yards.
Kicker Mark Grant also recorded a new record of 13 extra kicks in a single game. Grant finishes the season being 72-73 for extra points and 7-8 on field goals.
Caldwell finished the season with a total of 28 touchdown passes; making his three year career total 52.
The UWA Athletics kept the game post up to date, not only during but after the game with multiple tweets about the Tiger’s success:
“Tigers scored 13 TD’s tonight, breaking GSC record set by Southern Ark. In 2000 #recordsfalling”
“West Alabama also now holds GSC record for yards gained per play in a season with 7.7 after 11 game #keepplaying2013”
Senior Skeeter Sellers was nothing less than proud of his team’s performance during the game: “I loved playing this last game and I’ll miss my brothers and my coaches because they have been my family for the past four years.”
“We beat a team 91-28 tonight that beat two teams that are in serious consideration for a playoff spot. We have lost just one region game in two years,” UWA head coach Will Hall said. “The six best teams in the region should get into the playoffs and anybody who knows Division II football should know we are one of those six teams.”
Unfortunately, even with the new record breaks made by The West Alabama Football Program, the Tiger’s journey has come to an end and they will not advance into the playoffs. The 2013 Tigers were the first to ever win a back to back Gulf South Conference Championship in the History of West Alabama Football. This year’s team showed the fans and coaches a work ethic to be proud of with an overall record of 8-3. Their success on the field was recognized multiple times by the GSC, but the Tigers will hang up their helmets until spring training comes around.
Congratulations, Tigers, on a remarkable year. Take pride in what you’ve accomplished and come back even stronger next season!