White team defense holds on to claim 7-3 A-Day victory

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Tyler Waldrep

With just over a minute left in the game, the White team’s defense found itself backed up against the end zone clinging to a 7-3 lead. Quarterback Cooper Bateman completed three of his last four pass attempts when he took the snap at the 13 yard line.

White team defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson knew his team needed to step up. Bateman was unable to connect with his receivers on first or second down and on third down safety Ronnie Harrison made him pay for it when he intercepted Bateman to effectively secure the victory.

“It just felt like a game experience just like when you feel like you need one of those miracle plays,” Tomlinson said. “[Harrison] made it and won the game for the White team. I was pretty excited about that.”

A few minutes later Harrison was being given the Ball Out belt and mobbed by his teammates on the sideline. His teammate, quarterback Jalen Hurts, walked out on the field to run out the final minute.

On his final drive, Hurts completed all five passes for a total of 41 yards. Hurts also scored the only touchdown of the game when he connected with Derek Kief from five yards out with only 2:48 remaining in the game. A five yard run from running back Damien Harris and a 10 yard penalty helped get him in position for the score, but Hurts did most of the work himself when he connected with Cam Sims for a 32-yard gain.

Hurts finished the day 11-15 for 120 yards. Fellow White team quarterback Blake Barnett completed 9-of-16 for 112 yards.

“I think both guys made some good throws, both guys showed their athleticism in terms of abilities to extend plays,” coach Nick Saban said. “We certainly look a little faster or quicker in terms of how we’re moving on offense.”

Saban wasn’t impressed every time one of the winning quarterbacks took off with the football. He said there were multiple times in the game when the two quarterbacks tried to do to much and got sacked.

“Some of the inexperience shows in some of the negative plays that are sort of like unforced errors in tennis,” Saban said. [But] let me say this. Who you’re playing against matters.”

Bateman and David Cornwell combined to go 14-37 for only 136 passing yards and one interception, but both guys went against the first team defense.

Both quarterbacks also saw their fair share of Tim Williams. Williams said he wanted to come out and show off his speed, a mission he seemed to have accomplished at halftime when Saban joked that Williams might ruin the game if kept making plays in the backfield.

Williams finished the day with two sacks and three quarterback hurries.

“[Not being able to hit the quarterback] just teaches us, you know, to be disciplined in the zone, when you be in that zone like you about to hit him,” Williams said.“We compete like that everyday in practice.”