The Vestavia Hills Rebels spoiled Tuscaloosa County’s homecoming game Friday night by defeating the Wildcats, 45-16. The game was decided by halftime, when the Rebels held a 42-point lead.

The first quarter started well for the Wildcats as sophomore defensive back Christian Davis intercepted a pass on the Rebels’ opening drive. But the Wildcats fumbled the ball right back, setting up the Rebels offense inside the 5 yard line. It was all downhill from there as Vestavia Hills scored four unanswered touchdowns in the first quarter.

“That’s not 2018 Clemson over there,” said Tuscaloosa County head coach Jason Todd. “I’m embarrassed by the first half because I didn’t have our guys ready and he (Rebels head coach Buddy Anderson) did.”

Vestavia Hills managed to score in a variety of ways. Junior defensive back Tyler Moore returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Later in the same quarter, senior Jermaine Harris returned a blocked punt nine yards for a touchdown.

The Wildcat defense held strong for the first 10 minutes as the Rebels were only able to score off of turnovers and special teams mistakes. The Wildcats hadn’t allowed a first down yet and they were already down 21-0. Already down big, the Wildcats lost morale and the defense cracked.

Vestavia running back AJ Powell Jr. ran for a 35 yard touchdown at the end of the first quarter and quarterback Eli Sawyer threw for two more in the second. The Rebels even executed a smooth two-minute drill to end the half, kicker Matthew McMeans capped off the drive with a 40-yard field goal as time expired.

When Graci Fowler was crowned homecoming queen at halftime and the Rebels removed most of their starters, the Wildcats were able to make a second-half push. Quarterback Connor White connected with wide receiver Cedric Williams for two touchdowns over 30 yards and the Wildcats held the Rebels scoreless in the second half.

When asked what it would take for Tuscaloosa County to get their first win of the season, Todd kept it simple: “Score more points than the other guys.”

Key Stat: Tuscaloosa County running back Damien Taylor rushed for 117 yards on 20 carries.

What’s Next: Tuscaloosa County (0-4) plays at Thompson and Vestavia Hills (4-0) plays Mountain Brook at home.