Alabama is recruiting Noa Pola-Gates hard because of what he can do as a cornerback and safety on defense.
But what Alabama defensive backs coach Karl Scott saw in the first half from the Gilbert Williams Field sideline on Friday night is also what Pola-Gates can do on offense.
Pola-Gates, a senior, who has Alabama among his final colleges, hauled in a 65-yard touchdown pass from Zack Shepherd with 14 seconds left in the first half that sparked No. 2-ranked Williams Field to a 51-14 rout of rival Gilbert Higley before an overflow crowd on senior night.
“I love offense,” the versatile Pola-Gates said. “It gives me an opportunity to show what I can do. Get a little spicy.”
It was like seventh grade all over again when Shepherd and Pola-Gates would get together and throw the ball around on the playground. The touchdown gave Williams Field (9-1) a 23-14 lead at the half.
“They were in man-to-man coverage and we felt we could take a shot,” Shepherd said. “We just went for it. Me and Noah have been throwing that ball since the seventh grade. We knew we were going to get it.”
Pola-Gates, who set up Williams Field’s first touchdown with a 16-yard run on a fly sweep, then showed off his defensive prowess in the third quarter when he intercepted a deep Spencer Brasch pass at the 5 and weaved his way down most of the field.
Most of his return yardage was called back by a penalty. But at that point, it was total Williams Field domination, showing it is ready for top-ranked Peoria Centennial in the 5A run for the state title.
Pola-Gates took an official visit to Nebraska last weekend. He visited Penn State earlier this season.
In November, he’ll take in the Iron Bowl for the big Alabama-Auburn game.