ALJ beats Sunshine, finishes 6-4

THOMASTON – A.L. Johnson High School clinched a winning season Friday night, whipping the Sunshine Tigers 42-0 in both teams’ season finale.

11-2-2012 — Thomaston, Ala. — AL Johnson’s Castillo Huggins looks for running room against Sunshine.

The impressive win provided a measure of consolation for the Eagles, 6-4, who missed the playoffs by one game. In fact, a double-overtime loss to McIntosh two weeks ago proved to be the difference in A.L. Johnson’s post-season hopes.

Despite the disappointment, Eagle head coach Mose Jones took several positives from the season. “We did some very good things this year,” Jones said after the win over Sunshine. “We had a great group of seniors this year, and this team fought to the end. We’ve also got a good group coming back next year.”

On Friday, ALJ struck early and often against the visiting Tigers, who finished 2-8. Taking the opening kickoff, A.L. Johnson chewed up yardage in big chunks, mixing the run and pass, before Michael Croom scored from one-yard out midway through the first quarter. Dyshawn Thrash ran the two-point conversion.

11-2-2012 — Thomaston, Ala. — AL Johnson’s Willie Moore heads toward the goal line in the Eagle’s game against Sunshine.

Late in the first, the Eagles began another drive that ended with Castillo Huggins scoring on a 17-yard run and Desmond Mair adding the two-point conversion. A.L. Johnson tacked on two more touchdowns before the half when Jeremy Mitchell returned an interception 42 yards and Antonio Dunner picked up a Tiger punt that was blocked by a host of Eagle players at the four and turned it into the easy score.

In the third quarter, a Warren Boykin interception at the Sunshine 35 set up a 14-yard Huggins touchdown run, and Demarcus Woods rounded out the scoring with a three-yard run with 5:04 to play in the contest.

“We felt like we could come out and kind of run it at them,” said Jones. “We thought we would be able to be more physical up front.”

Jones said he feels his Eagles are a playoff-caliber team. “I go on-line and see teams that are 5-5 or 4-6 going to the playoffs, and I feel like this is too good a team not to go to the playoffs,” the coach said. “But I’m proud of what we did this year, and I think we’ve got a good team coming back next year.”