McGill-Toolen at Prattville

Prattville's next opponent in their quest to return to the finals of the class 6A playoffs is the McGill-Toolen Yellow Jackets. This will be quite different scenario for the Lions. The Yellow Jackets are a private Catholic School rich in tradition in the Mobile area.

The school was originally founded by brothers Arthur and Felix McGill as a free school for boys in 1896. In 1928 the Brothers of Sacred Heart took over the operation of the school.

It was originally located on Government Street in downtown Mobile. In 1952 the school was moved to Old Shell Road across the street from the Bishop Toolen School for Girls. It too was a Catholic school operated by the Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross.

In 1972 the two schools merged and became McGill-Toolen Catholic High School. The school colors are orange and black. The football team had played its home games in Ladd-Peebles Stadium since beginning of the football program. Next fall the Yellow Jackets will move into their own home stadium currently being built on campus.

Some of the more famous graduates of the school include Jimmy Buffett, the singer; Jeremiah Denton, former U. S. senator and famous Vietnam veteran who spend seven years in a Viet-cong prison camp; Sonny Callahan, U.S. senator; William H Pryor U.S. Court of Appeals judge; and Jim Marshall a U.S. representative in the state of Georgia.

The best know alumnus of the school in the world of sports is Vince Dooley, former Auburn University football star, and coach of the Georgia Bulldogs football team for many years.

The current football team is coached by Keith Powell, a veteran of the high school sports sconce in the Mobile area. Powell is in his first year as head coach succeeding Steve Savarese who resigned to take over the leadership of the Alabama High School Athletic Association. Powell was Savarese's assistant at Daphne for 12 years before moving with Savarese to McGill.

Powell was the offensive coordinator at Daphne for eight years. He also coached at Fairhope and Baldwin County High.

The defensive coordinator is Mike Dean. He has been at McGill for three seasons, prior to that he had stops at Shades Valley and Theodore. Dean is the son of the late Joe Dean, former McGill-Toolen head coach from 1972-73 and long time head coach at Fairhope.

Joe Arensberg is the offensive coordinator. Arensberg has been at McGill for 14 years. His son, Thomas, coaches wide receivers.

After surrendering 27 points to Wetumpka in the second round, McGill-Toolen shut down a good Daphne offense in the quarterfinals last week in a 16-10 win over the Trojans.

McGill gave up 152 yards in passing to Daphne's Coley White. The Trojans only touchdown came on a 26-yard pass to LeAndre Walton. Daphne actually drove into McGill's territory on its first two possessions, but came away with only a 31-yard field goal.

McGill's two touchdowns came on breakdowns in the kicking game by Daphne. A poor punt out of the end zone gave the Yellow Jackets excellent field position at the Trojans 27-yard line The Jackets scored in five-plays with a aerial from quarterback Cullen Wacker to Derrick Meriwether for 22 yards and a one-yard run from Wacker on fourth down.

The second touchdown came late in the first half when McGill's defense forced another punt from deep in Daphne territory and Jeremy Jones scooped it up and returned it 51 yards for the second touchdown and a 13-3 lead at halftime.

McGill added a field goal late in the fourth quarter following a muffed punt at the Trojans three-yard line. Daphne's defense stuffed the Yellow Jackets and forced a 21-yard field goal with 1:53 left. McGill had only 115 yards in offense and four first downs, but the special teams play and their own defense kept Daphne off balance the entire game.

McGill was very lucky to make it to the quarterfinals. They trailed the Wetumpka Indians 13-7 going into the fourth quarter, and 20-7 with 10 minutes left, but rallied for three touchdowns to win with two-seconds left on the clock.

Wacker tossed a touchdown pass to Quinten Petty with 10 seconds on the clock. The drive culminated an improbable 80-yard drive with 69 seconds left in the game. The touchdown pulled McGill to within one point, 27-26.

After the touchdown Wetumpka was penalized for an unsportsmanlike like conduct penalty moving the ball inside the two-yard line, where Torian Russell dove over right guard for the two-points and the win.

Wetumpka's Tevin Washington threw for 251 yards completing 15 of 19 in the game.

Powell told Mike Herndon a sports reporter for the Mobile Press-Register back in August that, "We're as talented as some of the teams I've seen make it to Birmingham . Our motto in the preseason has been "Let's get the rematch." Let's get a rematch with Prattville, because everybody feels like they're going to be there."

Prattville eliminated the Jackets last fall in the quarterfinals 38-7. The Jackets have Glenn Harbin regarded as the one of the best prospects in the state as a defensive end. Harbin has narrowed his college choices to South Carolina, Florida and Alabama.

Other college prospects include Peters Drey (OL, 6-6, 265) Adrien Cole (LB, 5-10, 220) and Justin Pritchard (LB, 5-11, 210). source for Alabama high school football.

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