By Derek Trimm
WINFIELD — The Winfield Pirates scored in all three phases of the game to defeat the Colbert County Indians 43-21 on Thursday, Nov. 9, in Winfield, in round 1 of the AHSAA Class 3A State Playoffs.
D’Angelo Bankhead scored on a punt return along with Declyn Morgan on a pick 6 interception return to go with Keylan Hughes’ 3 rushing touchdowns and Brady May’s rushing touchdown to put away the Indians.
Building a 33-7 lead at the half, the Pirates added one more touchdown and a field goal before using a ball control offense to run out the clock to put the game away and advance to round 2 of the playoffs.
Winfield got on the scoreboard first following two three-and-outs by Colbert County.
The Indians punted to the Pirates, and Bankhead scooped up the punt at the Winfield 41-yard line and he raced 59 yards for the punt return touchdown.
Jacob Barnes added the extra point to put the Pirates up 7-0 with 4:52 left in the first quarter.
Colbert County answered the Pirates’ score with a touchdown drive of their own, with Ke'adre Garner breaking free for a 33-yard touchdown run.
Ethan Ramos added the extra point to tie the game at 7-7 with 2:53 left in the first quarter.
Winfield answered the Indians’ score with another as the Pirates relied on the running game and a timely 38-yard pass from May to Sean Wyers to setup the Pirates at the Indians’ 21-yard line.
Later, Hughes finished off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, and the 2-point conversion run failed to reach goal line, but the Pirates retook the lead at 13-7 with 10:35 left in the second quarter.
The Pirates’ defense came up with a turnover after an Indians fumble that Blaine Bowen recovered at the Colbert County 3-yard line.
Winfield needed only one play to reach the end zone as Hughes ran it in for the 3-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion pass failed but the Winfield lead stretched to 19-7 with 9:46 left in the second quarter.
On the ensuing drive for Colbert County, the Indians picked up one first down before Morgan intercepted a pass for Winfield and returned it 53 yards for a pick 6 touchdown.
Barnes’ extra point was good, and the Pirates’ lead grew to 26-7 with 7:02 left in the first half.
The Pirates added one more score before halftime as May lead the drive rushing for 52 yards capping the drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown.
Barnes' extra point was good to push the lead to 33-7 with 42 seconds left in the first half.
To begin the second half, the Pirates picked up where they left off and went back to Hughes and Morgan carrying the load to setup the Pirates at the Indians’ 26-yard line.
May passed to Preston Nelson for 16 yards down to the 10, and Hughes scored on the next play on a 10-yard touchdown run.
Barnes’ tacked on the extra point to make the score 40-7 with 8:59 left in the third quarter.
Winfield added a field goal on its next drive as Barnes’ knocked the ball through the uprights from 26 yards out to make it 43-7 with 1:07 left in the third quarter.
Colbert County got back on the scoreboard as they recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown to cut the lead to 43-14, and later added a 42-yard touchdown run to close the lead to 43-21.
See complete story in the Journal Record.