The Anderson Trojans squared off against the Akins Eagles at Toney Burger Center on Friday the 20th in an action packed competition. The fans and the guest band from Murchison Middle School were treated to an Anderson 40 to 21 win in a game that provided many highlights on both sides of the football.
The Trojans dazzled fans with quick scores, long drives, defensive three-and-outs, and exciting interceptions throughout the game. Anderson was firing on all cylinders, performing with confidence, and putting full steam into all sixty minutes of the game.
— mr, parent reporter (photographs contributed by nh, parent photographer )
The Eagles opened up the game on the offensive, with a 20 yard pass broken up by the resurgent secondary, and the defensive line tackling the quarterback on a third down run, forcing a punt.
The Anderson offense started their first drive using an “I” formation, gaining yards in the ground game. The first of two scores in this first quarter started with a play that was the fans’ first view of an unbalanced, or move line formation, with a receiver in a crowd of defenders, catching the pass on his shoulder, and outrunning four Eagles up the middle of the field to the end zone. The first of two 50 yard scoring plays. It was a night of firsts for Anderson.
The second scoring drive showed a template of balanced mixing of pass and running plays that was to be followed for much of the night. After a 15 yard pass, the Anderson ground game started up. The quarterback handed off to the running back, who cut to the left running along the line, then changing gears with a burst of speed through the line, scoring on a long 55 yard run up the left sideline for the touchdown.
The defense started up in the second quarter stopping another pass that was almost intercepted, being knocked down, and forcing the Eagles to punt in a three and out series.
The offense engineered a multi-play drive starting with a 20 yard pass, leading to a 15 yard run, then a 15 yard pass. The fans were treated to a continued offensive effort that was mixing up the plays and gaining ground on most snaps. The offensive line blocked on the edge, opening holes for the running back to cut into, and they provided pass protection throughout the drive. This continued high level of execution by the offensive line bulwarks throughout the game allowed Anderson to execute several long drives. This first drive of the second quarter ended with a ten yard pass to the running back out of the backfield for a two score lead.Although the Eagles had an outstanding ninety yard score on the ensuing kickoff, the Trojans took the field and continued to show the payoff for their early morning practices and their can-do attitude. On the first play from scrimmage, a 10 yard throw to the receiver turned into a 80 yard plus run, with the receiver showing football instinct to take a diagonal track, skirting the official, and keeping a two-step lead on multiple defenders all the way to the end zone. A roller coaster of emotions for the fans, putting Anderson back to a two score lead, over three scores in three plays between both teams.
The defense contained the Eagles for the rest of the second half. Akins was stopped on a promising drive when the safety broke up a huge 35 yard pass in a jump ball play, stopping the Eagles on third down. Twice in the second quarter Akins ended drives with incomplete passes.
Anderson completed the first half with a long drive of mixed runs and passes, using a long pass to get the offensive to first and goal inside the five. The receiver was covered tight, jumping and pulling in the ball over the shoulder of the defender, a real display of trust and confidence engendered by this Trojan team. The score was an unflinching two yard run by the quarterback, taking a hit he knew was coming after entering the end zone. It was one small step for the score, and one huge step for the whole team to end a solid first half.
Anderson received the ball in the second half, driving on the Akins D for two thirds of the quarter, chewing up yards and clock on the ground, passing when needed on long third downs. It was a classic use of the clock on a scoring drive. On the scoring pass play the Anderson quarterback was staring down a Mac-truck, and was solidly tackled, too late on a passing play to the end zone, to a receiver that cut left, leaving the defender three steps behind on a great route. Clearly the Anderson Trojan’s offense are all on the same page.
Akins was held to no score in the third quarter. The defense keep the Akins pass attack to short routes, no deep passes, and no long runs.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Anderson defense. The D-line continued a relentless rush, forcing the Eagles to scramble and pass. The secondary was licking their chops. After a pass breakup by the corner, the wheels came off of the Akins passing game.
A drive of short runs and passes had Akins in the red zone. The Eagles attempted a touchdown throw, where the Anderson defender leaped up in another jump ball play, pulling down the football for the INT. The crowd was cheering, but Anderson was not finished, surprising all fans, the defender continued motion, running out of the end zone, returning the ball thirty yards.
On Akins’ next drive, a similar long drive punctuated with great open field tackles by the Trojan secondary, eating up the clock, found the Eagles in the red zone. Another attempted touchdown pass at the back of the center of the end zone was well covered, with the same Anderson defender jumping on front of the receiver, coming down with both feet in bounds right at the boundary, falling on his back with the INT.
On Akins’ last drive, yet another Trojan secondary INT got the fans back on their feet, cheering again, enjoying the action their players provided all game long. Anderson 40-21.