After a low scoring performance from their offense in week one, the Tuscaloosa Academy Knights (1-1, 1-0) exploded with 48 points and a win against the Warriors from Valiant Cross Academy (1-2, 0-1). 

Leading the charge for the Knights was QB No. 10 Whitt Winfield, who had a career night with 225 yards passing and five touchdowns. 

QB #10 Whitt Winfield stands on the sidelines after his 5 touchdown performance.

“We missed some open guys last week but (Whitt)  found those guys tonight,” Knights Head Coach Todd Bradford said. “I thought he did a better job of stepping up in the pocket and making throws, that’s one of those things we talked about getting better at this week and hopefully we can get even better next week too.”

The prolific night for Tuscaloosa Academy began midway through the 1st quarter when Winfield connected with wide receiver No.11 Jack Standeffer for a 27-yd touchdown with a missed PAT. The score would stay 6-0 until the end of the first quarter. 

QB No. 1 Antavious Jackson for Valiant Cross would be picked off by No. 6 Wilson King of Tuscaloosa Academy, who then returned it to the 40-yard line. 

The Knights capitalized on the turnover with a 6-yard rushing touchdown by No. 8 Tyler McNeal, who added  a total 120 yards and two touchdowns on the ground with a 14 yard receiving touchdown. McNeal, the son of former Alabama offensive lineman Kareem McNeal, demonstrated why he is a weapon for the Knights offense. 

RB #8 Tyler McNeal watches the defense in between drives.

“He is really explosive, as a parent it’s really exciting to watch and see what the potential could be,”  Kareem McNeal said. “He would like to eventually go to division one, for now we are encouraging him to take care of his school work and work hard on the field and everything will take care of itself. “

With the score 14-0, Winfield and the Knights began to catch fire, scoring three touchdowns in the last six minutes of the second quarter. Winfield connected on touchdown passes of 14, 36, and 75 yards to put the game on blowout alert. Although Valiant Cross’s Jackson completed a 61-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver No. 11 Corey Brown to end the half, the Warriors were still down to the tune of 34-7.   

Tuscaloosa Academy would pick up right where they left off to begin the third, with Winfield throwing his fifth touchdown pass of the night to No. 12 Bo Abston, also Abston’s second receiving touchdown. A failed 2-point play would leave the score at 40-7 with 7:57 left in the third quarter. 

The Knights capped off their evening of scoring with a 71-yard rushing touchdown straight up the middle by McNeal with 5:06 left in the third, making a 48-7 deficit for the Warriors. 

Valiant Cross would make some personnel changes, moving Jackson to running back and bringing in No. 2 Savion German to play QB. The switch seemed to work, as German hit No. 14 Quintavious Tyus in stride on a long touchdown and Jackson added a 2-yard rushing score to bring the game to 48-21. In the end it was too little too late for the Warriors; that would be the final score from Tuscaloosa Academy. 

“It’s really about mindset, bringing that intensity at practice this next week,” Bradford said. “This next game is one thats easy to get up for for our guys, they want another crack at Bessemer.”  

The Valiant Cross Warriors (1-2) will head to Glenwood of Phenix City next weekend, while the Tuscaloosa Academy Knights (1-1) now prepare for a home rivalry showdown with Bessemer Academy. 

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