CULLMAN, Alabama -- Junior quarterback Ryan Skinner threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as the 6A Cullman Bearcats defeated the 7A Grissom Tigers 23-0 in a non-region contest at Woodard Stadium Thursday night. The Cullman defense was locked in for most of the game only letting Grissom have two series drives in the game.
Cullman had good balance on offense for their first win of the season. "We stood together tonight, we overcame some adversity with our offensive coordinator quarantined right now," said Bearcats head coach Oscar Glasscock. "We had some turnovers, busts and things like that but we stuck together and I believe we came out of this a better team. We wanted to be the best team on the field and I believe we were tonight."
Skinner, completed 6-of-11 passing for 152 yards and two touchdowns with one interception along with 58 yards on 9 carries and a touchdown made a big impact in the game. Cullman had Jamar Kay if needed at quarterback, but Skinner came up big in the game. "Ryan had some good, bad and the ugly as they say," added Glasscock. "Obviously he has some talent and is a good kid. He really wants to do well, but he has to understand he can not scramble when we don't have time outs. It is just the learning process and that is what makes high school football so much fun to see a guy like him get better as the game went on."
Cullman (1-0) scored first in the game on a Skinner pass to fullback Tyler Owens for a 35-yard touchdown reception. With the score, the Bearcats led 7-0 with 7:23 left in the first quarter. With 8:53 left in the half, Nate Zills kicked a 43-yard field goal to extend the Bearcats lead to 10-0. On that drive, Sills caught a long reception to setup his own field goal. Cullman had a chance before halftime, but the two minute offense stalled out as they couldn't get their field goal team on the field as the clock expired to zero but Cullman still had the 10-0 halftime lead.
Grissom really didn't do much on offense the first half, but on the Cullman first drive of the second half, linebacker Jackson Bofenkamp pounced on a loose ball to give the Tigers good field position and the ball right back to their offense. A few plays later, Grissom had to give up the ball again. Cullman was driving when Skinner hit Kaleb Heatherly on a long pass play into Tigers territory, but a few plays later Tariq Evans picked off a Bearcats pass to give the ball back to the Grissom offense.
A big Grissom pass play from Rynzo Crutcher to Mark Howard of 40-yards put the Tigers just outside the red zone. Two plays later Crutcher hooked up with DaQuwan Hood for another big play at the Bearcats 21-yard line. Grissom moved the ball down to the 8-yard line but a personal foul call put the ball back outside the 20-yard line and two plays later Bearcats safety Dylan Sessions picked off the Tigers pass in the end zone for a touchback and wiped away a Grissom scoring opportunity.
No one scored in the third quarter, but early in the fourth quarter on a short field after a short Grissom punt, the Tigers drove 45-yards on a few plays and scored again. With 7:35 left in the fourth quarter, Skinner scored on a 2-yard touchdown run up the middle and Cullman led 17-0. "Last week against Arab we didn't score and really didn't do much right on offense," said Skinner. "I thought we played better and things started to come together on offense in the second half. I think I kinda loss my composure in the Arab game, but it was much better tonight. Credit the O-line, they blocked amazing."
Again, Cullman forced a three and out and with a short punt at the Tigers 42-yard line, Skinner hit Jake Dueland for a 42-yard touchdown pass play and the Bearcats now led 23-0. In the game, Dueland had a sack on defense with the touchdown receptions. "I saw a lot of unity in our team tonight," said RB/LB Dueland. "It was a slow start and we stuck together as a team. We fought through it together tonight. We had a great push from the O-line that really helped the offense in the second half."
Up next for both teams, Cullman will travel to Jasper as Grissom will host Lee-Huntsville.