From the start it was an uphill challenge for Prattville.
Foley’s offense operated like a well-oiled machine, the Lions had to start a freshman quarterback in the biggest game of the season and an 18-point halftime deficit didn’t help either.
It was simply too much to handle: Foley 30, Prattville 15.
“It just wasn’t our night in the first half offensively, and we missed some opportunities in the second half,” Prattville coach Chad Anderson said of Friday’s Class 6A opening-round playoff loss. “We had some penalties, miscues and failed drives that kind of hurt us, and when you’re down, you can’t miss those opportunities.”
Prattville (7-3) entered riding a season-high seven-game winning streak, but was forced take to the field at Stanley-Jensen Stadium with Josh Moore under center due to an undisclosed throat condition to starter Kalen Whitlow, who practiced just once all week.
Foley (6-5) didn’t make matters easier on the home team by scoring on three of its first four possessions. Quarterback Tyler Cameron’s 71-yard touchdown strike to UAB commitment DeMarcus Bingham in the second quarter put Prattville into a 20-2 hole at the 4:52 mark.
“We knew we just couldn’t lay back,” Foley coach Todd Watson said. “We had to keep pushing because we know they could score a bunch. That was a big play right there in the second quarter to kind of lengthen that lead to try to get them out of what they do, which it to run the ball.”
With such inexperience at QB, Prattville only attempted three passes through the first two quarters. One of the three passes came from Kamryn Pettway, who was picked off on the team’s second drive. The turnover proved to be costly as Foley drove 76 yards on the ensuing possession for a TD.
“I am always protective of not putting a young quarterback in a tough situation, so I tried to protect him as best we could,” Anderson said of limiting Moore.
Prattville did get an early spark following the break with Pettway’s 56-yard touchdown run to slice into Foley’s lead just 40 seconds in. Anderson’s group had an opportunity perhaps to make things interesting after putting the visitors in fourth-and-long, but a roughing the kicker penalty during the punt canceled those hopes.
“I told them that we needed to put some points on the board and play,” Anderson said of his halftime speech.
The two schools would trade scores, keeping Prattville’s hopes of rallying on life support at the end of the third. But once again, the home squad blew another chance to draw closer when receiver Tyrie Moore dropped a sure-fire TD pass from Whitlow, who started the second half.
“We didn’t do what we needed to do,” Anderson said. “We didn’t finish it out. We had some dropped balls and miscues. …When you get to this point in the season, those little things like that hurt a lot, and we were not able to overcome those.”
Pettway was perhaps the lone bright spot for Prattville. The 6-foot-1, 236-pound Auburn commitment ran over several defenders en route to racking up more than 200 yards rushing and two touchdowns in his first and only postseason appearance.