Glencoe faces Cleveland in crucial region game


Glencoe quarterback Dylan Stone and the Yellow Jackets host Cleveland on Friday night. (Photo by Nick Johnston | Gadsden Times | File)


Glencoe won’t clinch a playoff spot with a win, but a loss essentially eliminates it from the postseason.

Yes, Friday night’s game against Class 3A, Region 5 foe Cleveland at Wilson-Darnell Stadium is a big one for the Yellow Jackets. Coach Lee Ozmint said it’s all going to come down to what choices his players made during the week and, of course, during the game.

“Every day when we go to practice, every day when we go in the workout room, we’ve got to make choices,” Ozmint said. “Those choices will have consequences, either good or bad. When you look at it, it’s a life lesson to learn. You’ve got to focus on every decision, and make good decisions. They have lasting consequences.

“Here, if we make a poor choice, if we decide not to show up, or we decide to take a play off, then it’s going to have dire consequences. And the season is going to be cut short.”

Ozmint certainly isn’t overstating the situation. The Yellow Jackets (3-3), who have made the playoffs the past four seasons, are 1-3 in the region and currently stand fifth — one spot out of the postseason. Cleveland is 4-2 overall and is third in the region at 2-2. Since Glencoe already has lost to the top three teams — Piedmont, Weaver and Saks — it needs to beat Cleveland and knock off Susan Moore and Ashville over the next two weeks to get in as the region’s No. 4 seed.

And it won’t be easy Friday night against the Panthers.

Cleveland features Peyton Gilliland, a transfer from Boaz who is doing big things for the Panthers at the quarterback position. As a freshman at Boaz last year, he was a standout wide receiver and also played running back.

Now he’s a dangerous weapon for Cleveland in touching the ball every play.

He’s also surrounded by playmakers, like running back Trevor Yates. When Gilliland goes to the air, one of his top targets is the 6-foot-6, 200-pound Emanuel Terry. Slot receiver Kevin Blackwood and tight end Cody Blackwood also have a knack for getting open.

“I’m impressed with (Gilliland) and the tailback,” Ozmint said. “They’ve got some receivers that are tall and rangy. Their offensive line is physical.

“They’re full of weapons.”

Coming off a 39-28 loss to No. 7 Saks last week, Ozmint said his team was able to build on several positives. The Yellow Jackets led 28-27 at the end of the third quarter but allowed two Saks touchdowns in the fourth.

Glencoe rolled up 437 yards of offense, including 219 yards and two touchdowns from running back Thomas Ozmint. Dylan Stone also passed for a pair of touchdowns — one to Logan Guest and one to Pace Ozmint.

The biggest problem was on the defensive side, and it’s something the Yellow Jackets have concentrated on this week. Saks gained 439 yards of total offense and had scoring plays of 41, 65 and 77 yards.

“I want to see us tackle better,” coach Ozmint said. “Our defense, even though it’s young, we’ve given up big plays this year. The big plays down the stretch will cost us.”

Ozmint hopes the last four weeks of the season will show an uptick in confidence for his team.

“I just want us, down the stretch, to show some character and grit,” he said. “This is where teams really do shine or fold. This team will not fold, I know that. I just want to see us get better.”