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Perry leads White to victory
The 2013 Spring Football game is in the books as the White team defeated the Green team 38-27. West Campus Fields held Garrick McGee’s second spring game as he is no longer a rookie collegiate head coach.
Senior Jonathan Perry shined in Saturday’s contest as the Baltimore product threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Perry started eight games in 2011, coming in for the injured Bryan Ellis that season. Last year saw a new offense that Perry had to adjust to and later saw redshirt freshman, Austin Brown, take over the starting quarterback reigns for the remainder of the season.
Perry has never given up, continuing to learn Coach McGee’s offense. As for Perry’s replacement last year, Austin Brown, completed 17-for-26 passes and threw for one touchdown for the Green team.
“I thought our quarterback play was efficient today,” said Coach McGee. “For the most part, they understand what we are doing now. They understand how to control the ball, how to make pressure checks and run game checks—things that you don’t see out there when you are watching from the stands.”
This year’s spring game was special in a sense that it was played on April 27. Two years ago many people lost their lives and were affected by the tornadoes that devastated most of the state. Helmet decals were worn with the 4-27-11 date and ABC 33/40’s meteorologist, James Spann, alongside Tuscaloosa’s mayor and former UAB football player, Walt Maddox, were appointed as celebrity head coaches for the game.
Maddox handled the coaching reigns for the winning White team and Spann took on the duties for the Green team.
“It’s been a very, always a very difficult day when you think about what people went through,” said Maddox. “I keep looking at my watch thinking about where I was at this time two years ago.”
Their roles were extended to more than just showing up. On several plays Maddox or Spann would choose run or pass. On fourth downs, they would choose to kick or go for a first down conversion.
“I told them I would take responsibility for all of their errors today and all the decisions they made today, so I’m taking responsibility for some of those go for it on fourth down back up in their own territory,” said McGee.
“They did a good job. I think they thought they were going to be celebrity coaches and just walk around and do nothing. I did have a game plan for both. Whenever there was a decision to kick or go for it, they had to make the decision. At times they would say run or pass here. They had a lot to do with the game, a lot more than they thought,” added McGee.
UAB also raised money and had blood donation centers at the game. First responders and heroes that day were honored including former UAB kicker Rhett Gallego. Gallego is now a Tuscaloosa firefighter. He is remembered for his winning kick against Nick Saban’s 2000 LSU team as UAB defeated LSU, 13-10. Gallego started Saturday’s game by kicking off the ceremonial first kick.
The gesture moved Maddox, who played football and graduated from UAB.
“To be out here and see the City of Birmingham and UAB want to give back to the victims who hurt so much on April 27, it made me proud that my alma mater wanted to give back in this way,” said Maddox. “It humbled me that they asked me to be a part of this and help raise attention and funding for those who are still suffering as a result of April 27. It made me very proud to be an alumnus of UAB.”
As for being undefeated as a head coach now, “I always wanted to be a football coach,” said Maddox. “It was a dream of mine, but now I can retire 1-0.”
Spring football has concluded for the Blazers, but offseason player workouts will continue throughout the summer and into fall camp. As for Coach McGee, his spring football season extends one extra week as he and his wife, Tiffany, will teach Football 101 for Women on May 4.
“We are going to have fun,” said Mrs. McGee. Coach McGee and his staff will teach the basics of the game, give details of what the players do offensively and defensively, and then provide a tailgate afterwards.
“This is yet another joint venture for the UAB Alumni Society and Blazer Athletics. It is also a way to introduce perhaps some new or novice fans to Blazer football,” said Janice Ward who is the president of the UAB National Alumni Society.
Registration is open to all ladies and cost is $25. Registration includes a T-shirt, booklet, and lunch. For more information call the National Alumni Society at 205-934-3555.
As for the rest of the Blazer fans awaiting the start of the 2013 football season, kickoff is slated for August 31 at Troy.
SPRING GAME STATISTICS
1st Q (11:43) — Franklin, 11-yard pass from Perry (Anderson kick); 7-0
1st Q (6:02) — D. Reaves, 1-yard run (Hennessy kick); 7-7
1st Q (3:50) — Nelson, 49-yard pass from Perry (Anderson kick); 14-7
2nd Q (8:51) — D. White, 38-yard interception return (Hennessy kick) 14-14
2nd Q (5:08) — A. White, 1-yard run (Anderson kick); 21-14
2nd Q (2:37) — Franklin, 1-yard run (Anderson kick); 28-14
2nd Q (0:25) — J. Williams, 24-yard pass from A. Brown (kick failed); 28-20
3rd Q (7:29) — D. Reaves, 10-yard run (Hennessy kick); 28-27
4th Q (12:19) — Franklin, 10-yard pass from Perry (Anderson kick); 35-27
4th Q (4:26) — FG Anderson (50-yards); 38-27
White: Jonathan Perry, 18-27, 250 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT; Mike Miller, 6-9, 29 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Green: Austin Brown, 17-26, 169 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; Jeremiah Briscoe, 0-10, 0 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
White: Jamarcus Nelson, 5-120, 1 TD: Nyiakki Height, 4-40, 0 TD; Greg Franklin, 4-36, 2TD
Green: Jackie Williams, 4-59, 1 TD; Dequindre Adams, 3-42, 0 TD
White: Greg Franklin, 17-92, 1 TD
Green: Darrin Reaves, 14-96, 2 TD
White: Calvin Jones, 10 TKLS; Kelton Brackett, 7 TKLS, 1 TFL (-1 yds.), 1 INT
Green: Destin Challenger, 8 TKLS; Daniel White, 5 TKLS, 2 sacks (-10 yds.), 1 INT (Ret. 38 yards)