Edgewood has been the crown jewel of the Alabama Independent School Association for the past few football seasons.
Three state championships in four years prove that claim. And after the past two showings, the Wildcats (6-0, 3-0 Class AA, Region 1) apparently are not ready to step down from their throne atop the mountain.
For the second consecutive week, top-ranked Edgewood rolled effortlessly through another opponent, dismantling rival Autauga Academy 46-0 in front of a packed crowd at Storrs Field on Friday night.
“I tell the kids every day that champions always find a way,” Wildcats coach Bobby Carr said. “The bar has been set pretty high the last four years and these kids just keep it up there. Every week we have someone different stepping up for us.”
The lopsided victory extends Edgewood’s unbeaten streak to 23 games — longest in the AISA and the state. The two-time defending state champs are now 3-0 when facing schools ranked No. 2 in the state, defeating Springwood (2011), Glenwood and now Autauga.
“This just shows, so far, that we’re the best team in the state,” senior Bailey Hansen said.
Everyone contributed in this one. Josh Crawford had 179 yards and three scores, quarterback Dylan Ingram threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns, Rod Boykin had a pair of interceptions and Hansen made several big plays on both sides of the ball to lead the Wildcats.
“Our coaches keep pounding it in our head that this is just another game,” said Edgewood senior Casey McCluskie, who scored on a 1-yard dive late in the second half. “A lot of people were thinking that Autauga was going to beat us, we kept our heads high and our mouths shut.”
The Generals (4-1, 2-1) played shorthanded as Alabama commitment O.J. Howard missed his second straight game with an undisclosed leg injury. No official word has been given as to when he may return.
Autauga Academy coach Mike Sims did not offer any excuses.
“The thing about it is that we still got to line up and play 11 men no matter if he’s with us or not,” Sims said. “We love O.J., and he’s been a big part of putting us where we’re at. We’re looking forward to when he comes back, but right now we got to play the best 11 that we got and we didn’t get the job done.”
Edgewood built a 19-0 advantage with five seconds left in the opening quarter. Carr reached down deep into his bag of tracks when receiver John Mark Cosby caught a 48-yard strike from Ingram after lining up at center on third-and-29.
“We always go into a game with a couple of trick plays,” said Carr, who admitted he hadn’t called the play in six seasons. “We don’t like to rely on them, but you never know when you’re going to need them. We went out there and we got what we were looking for and John Mark took care of the rest – that was pretty sweet.”
With the Generals going three-and-out on their first drive of the second half, Edgewood added to its commanding lead when Hansen hauling in a 19-yard score that capped an 83-yard drive to make it 32-0 with 8:06 remaining in the third.
Sims’ squad just wasn’t in sync the entire game. The undermanned Generals only crossed into Edgewood territory twice through the first three quarters, didn’t force their opponents to punt the ball until 5:49 left in the final period and biggest gain was a 16-yard run by Eric Graham.
“We’re going to do the same thing that we normally do,” Sims said. “We’re going to Monday fresh, put this in the back of our mind knowing now that we’re fighting for the No. 2 seed in the region … hopefully we’ll get another shot at Bobby and them.”