ScoutSouth.com Players of the Week:
Desmond Warren, quarterback, completed touchdown passes for 64, 69, and 95 yards. Warren completed 13 of 21 passing attempts for 372 yards.
Edward Robinson, wide receiver/defensive back, had five catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns and one interception.
Jazeric Peterson had five catches for 183 yards and the winning score.
It might have been enough to recognize Desmond Warren for his 372 passing yards, but it does not do justice to the performances behind the numbers.
This is a story that grandparents will tell their grandchildren one day. They will tell of the night Desmond Warren and his teammates marched into the hallowed halls of southern football history.
Somehow in the retelling of the story, the crowd will grow to a mythical size, but that wasn't the case. For the most part, the fans abandoned their team at halftime. The largest population who remained were the rows of pine trees that embrace L.F. Tillery Field.
For those few who actually stayed to see the home team pull out the biggest fourth quarter comeback in the history of Alabama high school football will have a memory to treasure for a lifetime.
Houston County came into the game with an 0-2 start to the season. Cottonwood (1-1) made it through the third round of the state playoffs in 2007 undefeated, but a second week loss to Elba (28-0) had to chip away at their confidence.
Now all good comeback stories have dramatic plunges to the depths before the phoenix can rise from the ashes. It wasn't just the score that put Houston County behind. The problems started on Monday when five players missed practice and were suspended from the team. That necessitated a quickly overhauled game plan on Monday. Add an injured nose guard who did not dress for the game.
Halftime found the Lions with 10 yards passing and three lost fumbles. They were losing 37-8.
Jarrod Wooten took the Houston County head coaching position in May 2008. The Auburn University graduate had been an assistant coach for a number of years and, thus far, had a record of 0-2.
The Houston County team, already depleted, lost one of their best defensive players due to dehydration in the first half and did not return. The previously injured defensive lineman, Ray Jackson, managed to talk himself into the game at the break, dressing during the intermission. That gives Coach Wooten 20 players.
Cottonwood managed another seven points to make the score 43-8 at the 3:15 mark in the third quarter of play.
Desmond Warren doubles as linebacker, and Edward Robinson plays an equally important role on both sides of the ball as a receiver and defensive back.
The momentum shifted when Warren scored on a 13-yard run, and the Lions converted a two-point conversion. 43-16
The Lions held and got the ball. Robinson scored on a four-yard touchdown run, and again they converted on the two-point try. 43-24
Robinson intercepted a Bears' pass and returned it for a 32-yard score. Again, a two-point conversion success. 43-32
Cottonwood manages to score, and with the point after makes the margin 18. 50-32
Robinson scores touchdowns on the next two possessions, 64 and 69 yard passes from Warren. The last at the 5:17 mark. 50-46
Cottonwood got the ball again, and most assuredly knew the best game plan of keeping the red-hot Houston County offense off the field. They tried to convert on fourth and four, from mid-field. Robinson tackles the Bear a yard short of the first down, and the Lions take over on downs.
Houston County, nailed with three penalties and a bad snap, finds themselves in a huge hole. Facing third-and-48 from their own five-yard line with :57 remaining. Warren hits Jazeric Peterson down the right sideline, and he rumbles for a 95-yard touchdown. 52-50
It took just 19 offensive plays in the second half for Houston County to rally a 44-point comeback.
Among that small crowd who witnessed the comeback were the five suspended players who will attempt to win their way back on their high school football team.
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