Handley played like a team that was frustrated about not getting to play the week before as they bolted out of the gates and continued the onslaught for three quarters in a 52-0 rout of White Plains last Friday.
It was just the second game in the month of October for Handley after opponents Jacksonville and Anniston canceled due to concerns over covid issues within their teams.
Handley started like it had been waiting two weeks for kickoff as Tae Meadows scored from 14 yards out on the team’s opening drive.
Handley scored twice in the first quarter, three times in the second quarter and three more times in the third before throttling down and coasting through a scoreless fourth.
Seven different Handley players reached the end zone and the Tigers even got a chip shot field goal from Caleb Burns.
Jamarius Haynes and Jake Cottle took turns scoring their first touchdowns of the season to help Handley build the lead to 21-0 early in the second quarter.
DaQuavious Lawrence had an interception return for a touchdown, and Evan Cofield bracketed the halftime break with touchdown passes to Dylan Brooks at the end of the second quarter and Amajah Williams at the start of the third.
Jamerqui Lewis put the finishing touches on the touchdown barrage with a 34-yard run for six before Burns closed out the scoring with a 20-yard field goal just before the end of the quarter.
Handley finished with 511 yards of total offense, and as you might expect there were multiple contributors to that effort.
Cofield went 10-for-16 passing for 169 yards and two touchdowns.
Haynes finished as Handley’s leading rusher with 128 yards and a score on nine carries. Meadows carried just twice for 45 yards and a touchdown. Backup quarterback Cannon Kyles added 80 yards on four runs
Lewis’s touchdown run was his only carry of the night, but he added to the offense through the air with a team-best three receptions for 103 yards.
Handley is now officially 7-0 on the season, a record that includes those two forfeit wins but does not include a preseason contest against RCHS or a non-counting replacement game in week one against Beauregard, both of which Handley won.
If the Tigers are going to complete the first perfect regular season ever for head coach Larry Strain they will have to do it against a formidable foe.
The Volunteers of Central of Clay County come to Roanoke Friday as the two-time defending state champions in class 5A and the No.4-ranked team in the state in that classification.
Handley is ranked fifth in class 4A so the regular-season finale will be a high-caliber matchup between a pair of region champions.
Central is coming off a 33-0 win over Tallassee that kept the Volunteers unbeaten in region play. Central’s only loss this year was a 37-30 decision against now-top-ranked Pleasant Grove in a week five non-region clash.
Against Tallassee, Central got 165 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries from top rusher Elisha McNeil, while quarterback Boyd Ogles completed 7-of-16 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown, a 48-yard strike to Jamieon Hunter.
Jakheim McLemore and Ogles both added rushing touchdowns, and Terry Heflin scored on a pick-six to send the Vols to their second shutout victory of the season.
Now Central will give Handley its first home game since September 4, after three prior scheduled home games fell by the wayside due to covid cancellations.
Win or lose it will complete the best regular season in Strain’s 22-year career. He has never had a regular season in which his team lost fewer than two games, so a record of 7-1 would represent the lowest regular season loss total of his career.