PHOENIX – Eyabi Anoma can start getting used to this.
The St. Frances Academy (Baltimore) senior played in front of a national TV audience on ESPNU on Saturday evening, when his team traveled to Grand Canyon University for the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series. And as a future Alabama player, he’ll certainly be playing plenty of primetime games.
The Crimson Tide signee appears prepared to handle that, as he and his teammates certainly put on a show in a 41-3 win over Bingham (Utah).
“It was definitely a different team, we adjusted well and it was just a very fun experience,” said Anoma, the No. 4 player in the ESPN 300 2018 rankings who signed with Alabama on Wednesday, the first day of the new early signing period for recruits.
The game was a matchup of two undefeated state champions. No. 11 St. Frances came in 12-0 and had won the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship. No. 8 Bingham was 13-0 and had won the Class 6A Conference championship in Utah.
On Bingham’s first drive, it appeared to be a worthy competitor for St. Frances’ vaunted defense, driving 45 yards before settling for a 37-yard field goal.
St. Frances doesn’t allow many points. In fact, it allowed only 58 points over its 12 games this season – that included six shutouts and allowing less than 10 points in all but one game.
Anoma will get plenty of national exposure next fall when he suits up for Alabama. But before Saturday, St. Frances had not played a nationally televised game this year. (St. Frances’ game against No. 2 IMG Academy on Sept. 8 was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma.)
Anoma said Bingham’s early field goal motivated his team’s defense, which then proved how dominant the unit is.
“It was hard at first,” he said. “Our defense, it does take us time. We have to adjust and know what’s going on. As soon as we know what’s going on, we find their weaknesses and attack them. That three points, it woke us up. We said, ‘No. No more.’”
Junior quarterback Jalon Jones also had quite a showing in the national spotlight. Jones, ranked No. 299 in the ESPN Junior 300 2019 rankings, rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns, while also throwing an early 78-yard touchdown pass.
“All we do is excel and keep excelling, and keep putting up points,” Jones said. “We knew the longer the clock goes on, the more points we were going to put up.”
Jones was committed to Mississippi State, but he de-committed when coach Dan Mullen departed for Florida. The Gators recently offered Jones, who is still undecided.
St. Frances senior wide receiver Kwincy Hall was named the game’s MVP. He made a 78-yard touchdown catch and had a 51-yard punt return score.
Bingham has appeared in the Champions Bowl Series in three of the past four seasons – 2014, 2016-17 – but has lost all three times. St. Frances was the first Maryland team to play in the series, making an impressive debut.
“We’re representing not only for Maryland, but for the East Coast, that we’ve got good football on the East Coast,” Jones said. “I don’t think we get enough credit for it. Schools in like Texas and California always get all the credit, but we’ve got some good football on the East Coast.”
This was the last time Anoma will wear a St. Frances uniform. But it certainly won’t be the last time he’s a member of a dominant defense. And he might show up on an ESPN network again soon.
“Roll Tide, I’m just ready,” Anoma said. “It excites me. I like competition. We came out here and competed, Alabama is another level. I’m ready to climb that ladder and compete.”