Gardendale, AL – The 7A Austin Black Bears (4-2, 1-2) traveled 75 miles south and took a 38-7 victory over the 6A Gardendale Rockets (0-5, 0-2) back to Decatur Friday night.
The Black Bears sprinted to a commanding 24-point halftime lead, ultimately securing their third straight victory over the Rockets.
The game opened with Bears drawing first blood when Hayden Wynn nailed a 26-yard field goal with 6:46 remaining in the first quarter.
Late in the first, Gavin Fuqua capped an Austin drive with a bolt into the endzone from inside the Rocket five yard line giving the Black Bears a 10-0 advantage. J.L. Davis then snagged a 36-yard touchdown reception from Jackson Potter, extending the visitor’s lead to 17-0 with 8:43 left in the half. Gardendale’s defense faced a formidable challenge in containing the potent Austin offense who has put up 182 points in the first half of the Alabama high school football season.
Just before the break, Austin crossed the goal line for the fourth time as Judd Bailey connected with Na’sean Bannister from 10 yards out, leaving Gardendale trailing 24-0 as the teams headed into the locker room.
The second half saw no let-up from the Black Bears. Bailey, orchestrating the offense with precision, threw an 8-yard pass to Fuqua, who recorded his second score of the night. This further extended Austin’s lead to 31 points. The Bears special teams got in on the action next as Jackson Potter returned a punt 45 yards for yet another touchdown, putting the Bears up 38-0.
Gardendale, despite facing a substantial deficit, displayed commendable determination. In the final quarter, Boogie Harris managed to find the end zone with a 4-yard touchdown run, providing some spoiling the shutout.
Defensively, Caiden Combs led the charge for Gardendale with an outstanding performance, tallying three sacks and four tackles-for-loss. His efforts were a testament to the resilience of the coach Chad Eads Rockets squad.
Looking ahead, the Rockets will look to bounce back with a road trip to Birmingham to take on a the struggling Jackson-Olin Mustangs (0-6, 0-3) next Friday night. Austin steps back into region play, traveling to Huntsville to face the Grissom Tigers (1-4, 0-3).