Daphne Wins Thriller Over Hoover For 6A Crown

Daphne beat Hoover 7-6 to win the 6A title on Friday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn, Ala.--Winners of 21-straight games, the Hoover Bucs and Auburn commitment Jaylon Denson came into Friday night's 6A title game averaging 35.4 points per game but the Daphne Trojans had a defensive game for the ages. Holding the Bucs to just 268 yards of total offense and getting a late field goal miss, Daphne earned its first title since 2001 with a 7-6 win at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

It was a bittersweet night for Denson as he was the most dominating player on the field for most of the night in the loss. Catching eight passes for 124 yards, he was a powerful weapon for a Hoover offense that managed just 32 yards on the ground in the loss.

"We're disappointed that we came up a little bit short but we can't point fingers at anybody," Denson said. "We didn't execute like we practiced all week. We came up short on special teams. The offense didn't execute like we're supposed to. We had a lot of three-and-outs. They took advantage of it.

"Six points was a surprise to me and the rest of the team," he added. "It's probably the lowest scored in Hoover history. We can't be mad. We brought in on ourselves. I feel like I played a pretty good game in the end. I tried to come up big for my team but we came up short."

Jaylon Denson

On the other side the Trojans earned the win by grinding out the game on the ground and making the best of good field position in the clutch. Rushing for 99 yards, Daphne was led on the ground by talented junior T.J. Yeldon. Carrying the ball 13 times for 49 yards, he also led the team with five catches for 42 yards on the way to the win.

"It was amazing," Yeldon said. "We brought the best defense in the state tonight. They told us to put points on the board and we did. We came out with the win. We knew we were going to put the ball in the end zone. They kicked the ball short and we put it in the end zone."

Hoover's only score of the night came in the first quarter on a very controversial call. Following a three-and-out by Daphne's offense deep in its own territory, the Bucs took over at the plus 47 and immediately took a shot down the field. Quarterback Ryan Carter threw to Reginal Johnson for a play that was ruled a touchdown. While he did appear to catch the ball briefly, he lost control going into the end zone. The touchdown gave Hoover a 6-0 lead after a missed extra point. That would prove to be an omen for the Bucs.

Hoover's TD catch

Things remained 6-0 until early in the fourth quarter when Daphne got the break it was looking for. Taking over at the Hoover 33 following a short Hoover punt, the Trojans got a first down before Tyrell Holloway galloped 24 yards down to the one. From there Yeldon punched it over for the touchdown. The extra-point by Brandon Roberts made it 7-6 Daphne.

Hoover would make one final run in this one though as they took over on their own 38 with 4:49 left in the contest and drove the length of the field for a first down at the Trojan 19-yard line. Gaining four yards on two plays, the Bucs threw to fullback Brandon Cochran on third down for 14 yards. With a first and goal at the one the Bucs tried unsuccessfully on the first two plays to run at the middle of the Daphne defense.

Getting a false start on third down, Hoover tried to pass on third down and didn't throw at Denson. Instead a pass over the middle was broken up to bring up fourth down from the six. Having a rough night, kicker Larsen Real tried to give his team the lead but a high snap threw off the timing of the play and the kick sailed wide left.

Daphne ran out the clock to preserve the win with Yeldon putting the finishing touches on the victory. Facing a third and nine, the junior runner danced outside for an 18-yard gain to salt away the win. He fumbled and recovered on the play and Daphne ran out the clock for the win.


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