ALMA -- Alma coach Doug Loughridge has said all year that his squad is a second-half team.
That proved to be the case again Friday night in a 28-9 victory against White Hall in a first-round matchup in the Class 5A state playoffs at Airedale Stadium.
Alma 28, White Hall 9
White — Reddick 27 run (kick failed), 9:19
Alma — Johnson 9 pass from Jensen (Walker kick), 4:37
White — Collins 35 FG, 5:37
Alma — Johnson 9 pass from Jensen (Walker kick), 11:01
Alma — Jensen 5 run (Walker kick), 1:06
Alma — Johnson 21 pass from Jensen (Walker kick), 2:53
Trailing 9-7 at halftime, The Airedales outscored the Bulldogs 21-0 in the second half to pull away for its sixth consecutive first-round playoff victory.
"I feel like all year we have gotten stronger in the second half," Loughridge said. "We preached all week we played some tough teams early in the year. That has gotten us ready for this."
Senior quarterback Garrison Jensen and senior wide receiver Brayden Johnson were a big part of the second-half push on offense.
Jensen found Johnson for a 9-yard touchdown pass to cap a three-play scoring drive right after halftime to take a 14-9 lead early in the third quarter.
Alma (7-4) didn't look back after that, holding White Hall scoreless in the second half. Jensen added a 5-yard touchdown run then connected with Johnson again for a 21-yard score to extend the lead.
"I talked to (offensive coordinator Chris) Gunter early in the week and he told me he isn't ready for this to be over," Loughridge said. "Jensen is a special quarterback, and Johnson is a special receiver. Just to have another game with them is special."
Jensen finished 11 of 16 passing for 152 yards with three touchdowns. He also added 42 yards on the ground with 16 carries and another touchdown. Johnson finished with nine catches for 130 yards with three touchdown catches.
Alma senior running back Tyler Alexander led the team in rushing with 14 carries for 97 yards. The Airedale's final two touchdown drives ended with 11 and 13 plays, which helped keep the Bulldog's offense off the field.
"The best defense is a good offense," Loughridge said. "I felt like our guys did a good job earning yardage and staying inbounds. We just kept running the ball falling forward."
White Hall senior quarterback Ollie Reddick led the offense completing 13 of 18 passing for 136 yards. He also rushed for 145 yards on 22 carries with a touchdown.
"This is his first and only year playing quarterback," White Hall coach Mike Vaughn said. "He has a chance to play in college. He played receiver for us last year and played so well. He filled in a much-need quarterback gap this year."
Reddick was able to help guide the team to a 9-7 halftime lead while rushing for 117 yards on nine carries. But he was limited to just 28 rushing yards on 13 carries in the second half.
"What I liked from our defense was the way we got to the football and the way we tackled," Loughridge said. "That looked more like I'm used to with those green jerseys playing defense."
White Hall (7-4) was limited to four-second half possession and had two end with turnover on downs and the other two end with interceptions. Junior defensive back Coltin Bowerman and Johnson came away with the interceptions for Alma.
Sports on 11/11/2017
Print Headline: Alma surges past White Hall