Week two of Alabama Steel football came full force last weekend in their matchup with the undefeated Fairhope Storm. After a disappointing season opener against the Alabama Sabers, the Steel took the field with full confidence.
The game started slow for the team with a quick Fairhope Storm touchdown on a 42-yard bomb from Storm quarterback Paris Chambers to wide receiver Lamarcus Farmer. But the Steel regained composure and never let up.
The Steel defense came with zero reserves to start the second half, forcing a SportsCenter-worthy fumble that led to a 27-yard touchdown run for defensive back Jeriel Easley along with a two-point conversion to give the Steel an 8-7 lead. This shift in momentum gave the Steel all the fuel they needed to finish out their first win of the season. After a Storm field goal late in the second quarter, the rest of the game was in the Steel’s hands. Fairhope’s Chambers-Farmer combination was no match for the Steel’s defense.
The offense took off just as hot in the third quarter with a sneaky rushing touchdown run by Jordan Acoff and a two-point conversion also by Acoff, which put the Steel up 16-10.
The fourth quarter became an Alabama Steel free-for-all, both defensively and offensively. Thomas put the team over the top with a 25-yard pass to wide receiver Braylan Smith. The Steel gave the crowd an entertaining endzone celebration with dives into mats behind the goal posts. Fairhope had numerous second-half possessions but could not get past the Steel defense. These players saw the improvement in themselves, and it reflected on the scoreboard.
“During a football season you have games and moments that’ll make or break your team and season,” Smith said. “The game against the Storm really showed us that when we’re truly facing adversity we have what it takes to rise above and come out on top. “
Fairhope’s Darius Powell was a force to be reckoned with in his own right, but not against Steel defensive back Toriante Hinton, who gave him a hit that’d make any viewer grit their teeth.
One of the Steel’s prominent linebackers and biggest threats on defense, Edwaun McNeil, said the game sent a lasting message.
“It was a great statement win for us against a good opponent,” McNeil said. “We had to prove to ourselves that we could play four complete quarters.”
The Steel train continued with a smooth six-yard pass to former Alabama wide receiver Swade Hutchinson, a member of the Tide’s 2017 team. Another conversion from running back Willie Layton capped off an impressive display by the Steel with a final score of 30-10 over the Storm.
Head Coach Le’Von Pears expressed his excitement with the team’s progress.
“Good team win. We saw big improvement in a lot of areas from the first game,” Pears said. “Proud of the team for how they responded following a close loss that first game.”
Morale is high in the Steel organization, and players are looking forward to the next game against the Birmingham Chargers at Sylacauga High School at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 10.
The Steel will take the field a little differently from their black and grey ensemble. They will instead unveil a new grey uniform with blue numbers to raise awareness to and honor the victims of child abuse and child sexual abuse. This will be the Steel’s first road game of the season as well as a Yellow Hammer Division matchup as they continue their journey to the 2021 IAFL Phantom Horse Championship. Tickets are available for $10 and season packages for $35.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct the spelling of Coach Pears’ last name.