The pain is still acute, despite the four years that have passed since G.W. Carver’s last state football semifinal appearance.
Therell Tyus and Jamel Johnson are always a moment from reliving the agony, whether they’re at home or watching their little brothers among this year’s Wolverines.
The two played the final game of their high school careers on Nov. 28, 2008, the result seared into their memories like a tragedy.
Vigor 45, Carver 41 still has an impact.
“It still sucks,” Johnson said. “It’s the only game from high school I still watch, but I won’t watch the end of it.
“We would have done what Carver is about to do.”
Tyus and Johnson will be at Cramton Bowl on Friday when the Wolverines face Opelika in the Class 6A semifinals. Both will madly cheer their brothers — sophomore receiver Melvin Tyus and senior quarterback Jeremy Johnson.
They’ll also relive their 4-year-old agony yet again. A victory might ease it, a little.
“I just hope they win,” Therell Tyus said. “My biggest thing is, ‘Don’t go out like we did.’ We were so close. ‘Go ahead and get there.'”
Melvin and Jeremy were both in Prichard when the Wolverines faced Vigor, sitting in the stands and supporting their brothers, who were both receivers.
Both sets of brothers remember the calamities that struck Carver.
Vigor scored on a kickoff return and blocked a punt that led to a touchdown. Carver All-State junior London Pitts muffed a punt inside the 10 that Vigor recovered and turned into a touchdown.
The Wolverines had three first-quarter turnovers that set up Vigor touchdowns. They also gave up an 82-yard touchdown on Vigor’s first offensive play.
But the most anguish surrounds Carver’s last offensive play.
Carver, down 45-41, had a first down at Vigor’s 25 when quarterback Reginald Aaron, in a shotgun formation, screamed “check.” It meant for the Wolverines to check the sideline for a play call.
Aaron soon felt the most painful thing possible in the situation — the ball hitting his leg. Center Edmond Davis, now at Alabama State, thought he heard “go” and snapped the ball.
Vigor recovered and ran out the clock.
“It was heartbreaking. I was heartbroken, too,” Jeremy Johnson said. “He (Jamel) still watches that game to this day.
“He wishes he could go back in time.”
The Vigor loss is a primary subject whenever the players see each other, Therell and Jamel said. It was just the second time the Wolverines had reached the state semifinals — in 2004, Prattville beat them 30-0.
Friday is the third.
“He’s been telling me how it feels if we don’t win this game,” Melvin Tyus said. “I know he’ll be very intense (Friday). He loves seeing me on the field.”
Carver was even glummer a week after the Vigor loss when the Wolves showed the Wolverines what could have been.
Vigor rolled over Russellville 50-30 in the Class 5A finals. Carver stomached it via television.
“I watched like five minutes of it,” Jamel Johnson said. “They were blowing them out, so I turned it off.
“I couldn’t take any more.”