Weaver, AL – Bearcats score first win of the season, first road win since 2018, with dominating effort over Asbury
By Al Muskewitz
The Weaver football team needed a win so badly, head coach Gary Atchley was willing to go to the ends of the earth to get them one. Fortunately, the Bearcats didn’t have to go that far. They scored their first win of the season Friday night, snapping a 13-game losing streak and winning their first game on the road in four years, by blasting winless Asbury 48-6. “Everybody uses the word grinding, we’ve been practicing so hard,” Atchley said. “The losses just get on you after a while and somebody you feel like you get in a rut so we mixed it up in practice and did some different stuff. “We added some new wrinkles on offense and we’re attacking a little bit more on defense and we played a team that we kind of matched up with pretty good. Maybe all the sun and the moon and the stars all kind of lined up for one week. Everything kind of lined up for it. It was a perfect night for Weaver and the community and everybody who enjoys Weaver football. “We’ve been working our butts off. No matter how good they were, it was never about them, it was about us. We needed a win and we didn’t care. If I had to fly my team to Alaska to try to get a win, we’d have gone to Alaska tonight. We needed a win.”
It was Atchley’s second win as a head football coach. The Bearcats beat Glencoe in his second game last year 20-7 to snap a 21-game losing streak. They had a 19-point second-half lead on Donoho in this year’s season opener before losing 31-28. Their last win on the road came in the final regular season game of 2018 at Alabama Christian. Despite all the losses, support for Atchley’s team didn’t waver. But the time had come for the team to uphold its end. “The school’s been great,” Atchley said. “The band, the cheerleaders, the student section. They all were just waiting for us. We were the last cog in the machine. We needed to get a win to kind of pull all this together and we finally did. “Everybody else was on board just waiting. I don’t feel like anybody gave up on us. I think everybody was like it’s going to happen, they were all just waiting on it. Finally, we came through on our end.”
The Bearcats have tried to focus on playing one quarter at a time and were on it from the start. They opened a 14-0 first-quarter lead, then erupted for 32 points in the second for a 46-0 halftime lead. They outgained the Rams 396 yards to 4 in the first half. The teams played two eight-minute running quarters in the second half. Quarterback Kaden Gooden ran for three touchdowns and passed for two more. Payton Martin caught one of the touchdown passes and ran for another. Martin, D.J. Welch and Christian Marturello “carried the load” in the ground game. “It felt great finally winning after being there with Coach Atchley for so long,” Martin said. “We wanted to do it with him because he’s been there for so long and we felt as a team he deserved that win.
“We want to win at the beginning of the season, but we really didn’t play as a team. After last week when we played Randolph County we decided and said we have to play as a team and have to do everything right. We have to come together and just do it. We played tremendously as a team. We all came together, we blocked, we made tackles, we stopped passes, we caught the ball, we ran the ball well. Finally breaking through that shell and winning a game just makes it so much better.” No sooner had the clock hit zeroes the Bearcats celebrated by dumping the water cooler over their coach. Suddenly, he felt like he might have been in Alaska. “It was cold, it was getting chilly, and when that water hit me, oh my gosh it was cold,” Atchley said. “But I’ll tell you I would’ve taken 10 more of them to get that feeling to see the kids’ faces.”