Wiregrass War: Wetumpka Continues Road Trip With Visit to Dothan Friday Night

We’re now a week into the 2019 high school football season and Wetumpka (1-0) is coming off a confidence-building win over Fairhope (0-1) in the season-opener. But many hope the Tribe can take the many positives that were taken from the season-opener with them down to Dothan, Alabama this Friday.

A Glance at the Opponent:

The Dothan High School Wolves (0-1) are in their first year of existence after conjoining former rivals Dothan and Northview, resulting in the change of mascot. 41 years ago, Dothan and Northview were merged prior to separating and fielding two separate football programs. The Wolves are led by first-year head coach Smitty Grider. Overall, Grider is in 15th year of coaching at the high school ranks. Prior to landing in Dothan, he led the Hazel Green Trojans to a (4-7) season in 2018 and falling to Oxford in the first round of the 6A playoffs by a final score of 42-14. Before going to Hazel Green, Grider piloted the Park Crossing Thunderbirds from 2014 to 2017, resulting in three playoff appearances in four seasons as Park Crossing’s pilot and three consecutive region titles from 2015-17. Prior to making the trip to Montgomery, Coach Grider led the Beauregard Hornets from 2006-13. Grider’s career record is 111-50.

Gridiron History Between the Opponents:

The Dothan Wolves (0-1) and Wetumpka Indians (1-0) have never met under the current moniker in the two programs storied history.

Week 1 in Review:

Wetumpka (1-0): Used late plays Friday night to come out of Fairhope victorious 35-24.

Dothan (0-1): Had their game against Clay-Chalkville postponed until Saturday. But that didn’t help the Wolves much as the Cougars ripped apart Dothan 37-14.

Game time is set for 7pm between Dothan and Wetumpka Friday night at Rip-Hewes Stadium in Dothan, Alabama.

Pictures: Tiffany Singleton

Graphics: Amelia Nettles.

Down Goes the Pirate Ship: Wetumpka Sinks Pirates 35-24

I know it’s the first week of the season and there are plenty of games left to go. But, last night the Wetumpka Indians (1-0) defeated the Fairhope Pirates (0-1) by a final score of 35-24. The scoring got underway almost instantly as the Indians returned the season-opening kick back to the end zone to strike first. With 7:34 remaining in the first quarter, Zach Grindle booted a 30-yard field goal to put Wetumpka on top 10-0. Fairhope would strike back on the ensuing drive cashing in on a 1-yard touchdown rush from Leonard to cut the Tribe’s lead down to three at 10-7. That would remain the score until the second quarter. With 4:33 left in the first half, Fairhope nailed a 34-yard field goal to knot things up at 10 apiece. With just 32 seconds remaining in the first half, senior quarterback, Tyquan Rawls connected with Malik Davis from 20 yards out, the PAT was no good, giving the Indians a 16-10 lead heading into the locker room. With 11:57 left in the third, Hezakiah Nowden recovered a Pirate fumble on the first kickoff in the second half. At the 10:23 mark in the third quarter, Rawls found a receiver in the end zone but the following two-point try was intercepted. At the 4:57 mark in the third quarter, Fairhope found pay dirt courtesy of a Cowan 9-yard rush. Cutting their deficit to 22-17. With just 27 remaining in the third quarter, the Pirates found the end zone again. Taking their first lead of the game, 24-22, into the fourth quarter. With 8:49 left in the game, Nowden stepped in front of a Fairhope receiver, picked the pass off and returned it back to the Pirate 25-yard line. At the 6:44 mark in the fourth quarter, Rawls found Timothy Johnson for a touchdown which reclaimed the lead for Wetumpka at 28-24. With 3:27 left in the contest and big plays needed to extend their lead, Wetumpka put the ball in the hands of Tyquan Rawls, who ran 34-yards to the house, extending the Indians lead to 35-24. With 1:57 remaining, Rawls came up big on defense, picking off a pass that sealed the game. Defensively, Hezakiah Nowden shined with a fumble recovery and an interception to aid in Wetumpka’s first victory of 2019.

The Road Ahead:

Next Friday, Wetumpka (1-0), will travel to Dothan, Alabama to face the Dothan Wolves at 7pm in Rip-Hewes Stadium.

For Fairhope (0-1), the Pirates will travel to Mary Montgomery and face the Vikings at Grider Field in Semmes, Alabama at 7pm.

(Picture: David Gray, Graphics: Amelia Nettles).