CARBON HILL - Winfield needed only 24 seconds to get on the scoreboard for the first time Friday night, Oct. 12, and added another to go up two touchdowns in less than five minutes to cruise to a 35-12 win over the Carbon Hill Bulldogs.
The Pirates improved to 8-0 overall, 5-0 in Class 3A, Region 4 play, and the win also clinched a playoff berth and at least the first or second slot in the region. Winfield will need one win in the next two games against Greene County or Hale County to clinch the Class 3A, Region 4 Championship.
Quarterback Jackson Elkins led Class 3A’s fourth-ranked Pirates, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another. Brock Hollingsworth was on the receiving end of both of Elkins’ touchdown tosses.
In the rushing department, Chris Broyles put together his fifth game of over 100 yards on the season, gaining 121 yards and adding two touchdowns to give him 15 rushing touchdowns on the season.
The defense was not to be outdone, however, as the Pirates forced three interceptions in the game as well and had a fourth overturned on a roughing the passer penalty.
Winfield took the opening kickoff and Broyles raced 43 yards to the Carbon Hill 42-yard-line. On the first play from scrimmage, the Pirates’ Elkins connected on a 42-yard strike to Brock Hollingsworth for a touchdown just 24 seconds into the game.
Tanner Edmond booted the extra-point through the uprights and Winfield took the quick 7-0 lead.
After forcing the Bulldogs to a three-and-out on their first possession, the Winfield offense went right back to work.
Broyles got back to work on the ground, gaining 13 yards on the first two plays and then Elkins passed to Broyles for nine more yards down to the Carbon Hill 31.
Later in the drive, Elkins rolled to the right on the run-pass option and had a Carbon Hill defender get in his face as he pitched the ball forward to Hollingsworth, who ran the remaining six yards for another Winfield touchdown.
Edmond’s extra-point was good and Winfield’s lead grew to 14-0 with 7:34 left in the first quarter.
Carbon Hill scored its first touchdown with 3:03 left in the quarter when quarterback Jon Michael Madison went into the end zone from seven yards out. The touchdown was set up by a roughing the passer penalty on Winfield, which negated an interception in the end zone by Walker Junkin.
Tyler Totten’s extra-point sailed wide right and the Pirates lead was cut to 14-6.
Winfield wasted little time answering the Carbon Hill touchdown, as Elkins threw to Junkin for 29 yards down to the Bulldogs’ 27. Broyles then reeled off 17 yards to the 10. Later in the drive Elkins weaved his way through the Bulldogs’ defense for a 2-yard touchdown run.
Edmond’s extra-point was good and Winfield extended its lead to 21-6 with 1:52 left in the first quarter.
Carbon Hill threatened late in the second quarter, driving all the way to the Winfield 13-yard-line before Pirate Blaise Miles intercepted a pass, giving the ball back to the Pirates.
Winfield’s offense stalled on the ensuing drive and punted to the Bulldogs.
Carbon Hill caught the turnover bug once again as Madison’s pass was intercepted, this time by Junkin at the Winfield 47.
The Pirates used a steady running game and timely passes to drive the ball down to the Carbon Hill 16-yard-line. With the clock sitting at 4.9 seconds, Winfield head coach David McKinney elected to go for field goal.
Edmond lined up the kick, but it went wide right and short of the uprights as time expired in the first half and Winfield holding a 21-6 lead.
Both teams traded possessions to begin the third quarter. Winfield’s Nate Kemble intercepted another Carbon Hill pass with 3:30 to go in the third quarter to set up the Pirates next scoring drive from the Bulldogs’ 33.
Elkins passed to Broyles on first down for 12 yards, and then Elkins called his own number on the option-keeper for eight more down to the 13.
Broyles took care of the rest on the next play, scampering for a 13-yard touchdown run.
Edmond’s extra-point attempt missed its mark, but Winfield’s lead was now 27-6 with 2:27 left in the third quarter.
Carbon Hill answered the Winfield scoring drive with one of its own, driving 62 yards in 11 plays and capped by a 5-yard touchdown pass from Madison to Cade Perry.
Totten’s extra-point attempt was no good and Winfield’s lead was now 27-12 with 11:00 remaining in the game.
Winfield began the ensuing drive at its own 30-yard-line. Broyles picked up 16 yards on first down and then four on the next play to set Winfield up at the mid-field stripe.
Later in the drive, Broyles would finish out the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown run. Elkins added the two-point conversion run and Winfield’s lead extended to 35-12 with 6:10 remaining in the game.
Carbon Hill tried to answer, driving all the way to the Pirates’ 6-yard-line before turning the ball over on downs, allowing Winfield to then run out the clock on the game and secure its eighth win on the season.
The Pirates finished the game with 357 total yards--165 rushing and 192 passing yards.
Elkins completed 12-of-19 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns.
To go along with Broyles 122 yards on 21 carries and two scores, Elkins added 32 yards and a touchdown. Joseph Cox finished with 11 yards on three carries.
Hollingsworth had three receptions for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Junkin had three grabs for 51 yards. Gavin Norris caught two passes for 27. Miles caught one for 24 yards. To go along with his strong rushing performance, Broyles chipped in three catches for 20 yards.
Junkin, Kemble and Miles each had an interception and De’Vandrius McCollum added a quarterback sack defensively.
“We are the hunted now,” said McKinney following the game. “We are not the hunters anymore. Everyone is giving us their best shot every Friday night right now. We have got to learn to accept that challenge.
“We doing some good things, but we are just making some mistakes with penalties,” McKinney noted. “That is mental toughness and discipline and we are going to work on that this week.
“Carbon Hill does some good things,” McKinney said. “What they do is tough to defend and they are a good squad and they are getting better and they can really run on the corners.”
“We need to get one of the next two (victories) to be the region champs and Greene County will be a challenge. Plus, it’s senior night and there will be distractions, but we are going to go to work and get ready for them and hopefully lock up number one in the region,” McKinney concluded.
Undefeated Winfield will host region foe Greene County (2-5, 1-4 Class 3A, Region 4) on Friday, Oct. 19, for their final regular season home game. It will also be senior night for the Pirates. This will mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
See complete story in the Journal Record.