Tae Meadows rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns and Handley overcame some weather-related miscues to defeat Beauregard 36-6 Friday in Opelika.
Heavy rains prior to the game left wet field conditions in the first half, and Handley struggled to secure the football early on. Handley head coach Larry Strain said the offense had 11 bad exchanges between the quarterback and center, two of which proved costly on key downs.
Handley had a pair of fourth-and-short situations in Beauregard territory, but both times the plays were derailed before they ever got started.
“We mishandled the snap on both fourth downs, so we didn’t convert the fourth downs,” Strain said.
That took Handley out of a couple of scoring opportunities, but Meadows finally broke through in the second quarter. He put Handley on the board with a 14-yard run with 10 minutes left to play, then sent the Tigers into the locker room with a 15-0 advantage after a 1-yard score with 12 seconds to go.
Handley’s defense took it from there and made sure that those 15 points would be enough to win.
The Tigers limited Beauregard to 49 yards of total offense on 45 snaps. Fifteen of those 45 plays went for negative yardage. Jake Cottle led that effort with three tackles for loss. Christian Jones, Nate Pike, Dylan Brooks, Ahmad Staples and Brian Joiner also got in on the act with multiple tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
“Our defense played really well,” Strain said. “We dominated up there on the defensive front.”
Meanwhile Handley piled up 452 yards of total offense. Quarterback Evan Cofield completed 9-of-16 passes for 168 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown to Maurice Cameron in the third quarter.
Ayden Robertson added a 14-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, and backup quarterback Cannon Kyles hit Amajah Williams for a 27-yard touchdown pass with approximately three minutes left in the game to give Handley its final points of the contest.
The game will not count on Handley’s official won-loss record for the 2020 season, however, due to an unusual set of circumstances with the schedule. Beauregard was only available to play Handley because the Hornets’ original Week 1 opponent, Booker T. Washington, opted not to play out of concern over COVID-19. So Beauregard’s official result on its record Friday was a 1-0 forfeit victory over BTW.
“Once a school (BTW) forfeits a game, the offended school [Beauregard] can find a replacement game if it chooses,” explained AHSAA media director Ron Ingram. “But it is considered (this year only) a non-counting replacement game, and that game is not the game of record.”
So Handley will technically begin its season this week with a region contest at home against Munford, a game that Strain says should have major implications on playoff seeding in the region.
“This early in the season, it’s like a playoff game for us,” Strain said. “Whoever wins this game is going to play at home in the first round of the playoffs probably. I really do think they’re the team to beat in our region.”