Based out of little Gadsden, Al the Alabama Trojans capped their 2013 summer season with a thrilling victory over the Georgia Falcons to win the Heart Of The South Championship. For head coach Mario White it capped his career in minor league football as confirmed after the game that he is walking away from the minor league football game.
The Trojans had to come from behind to send their coach out on top. Trailing 19-13 entering the fourth quarter after Champ Tarver scored on touchdown runs of 2 and 59 yards for the Falcons in the final 3:25 of the third quarter Alabama used their defense to take the lead. On the opening play of the fourth quarter Trojan quarterback DJ Smith was intercepted at the Falcons twenty yard-line yet on the very next play defensive lineman Brian Caldwell stripped Falcons running back Aaron Palmer and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown. The Trojans converted the two-point conversion and lead 20-19 with 14:27 remaining in the game.
The Falcons were unable to move it on their next possession and had to punt, giving the Trojans the ball on their own 19 and they moved it on the ground to the Falcons 43 eating much of the clock before having to punt it back. Georgia again was unable to move it coming up two yards short on a fourth down and thirteen and the Trojans ran the clock out from there earning the 20-19 victory.
“I told the guys I wanted to go out like Ray [Lewis] and when we got down I just told them we had to stay composed and keep the family atmosphere that we’ve had all season. The defense rallied after the pick and B [Brian Caldwell] made a play and we pulled it out, we’re going back home to Alabama with the trophy,” Mario White said.
Following a missed field goal by the Falcons, Alabama scored on their opening possession when Smith hit Cavaris Lanier on a 32-yard touchdown pass on a busted play for a 6-0 lead after a missed extra point capping the 5-play 72-yard drive with 3:50 left in the first quarter. The Falcons answered back on their ensuing possession going 55 yards in three plays scoring on a 14-yard touchdown pass from minor league football veteran quarterback Darick Tinch (Forest Park Vikings, Henry County Horsemen) to Brandon Conerly tying the score 6-6 with 1:39 left. Each team committed a turnover and punted before Smith and Lanier hooked up again on a 37-yard touchdown pass with 2:11 left before halftime.
White goes out coaching two teams from Gadsden that won championships in recent years. In 2011 he won the NDFL championship with the Alabama Bengals and the 2013 Heart Of The South Championship with the Trojans winning both against Georgia opponents in the state of Georgia.
“I feel like a million bucks,” White said after addressing the team and taking several photos with players and friends after the victory.
White acknowledges that he would take on an advisory role of sorts but would not return to coaching unless it’s a “perfect situation”.
“I’ve had other offers [to coach] but this is it, I’m done. You cannot have one foot in and one foot out in minor league football, you have to be 100% committed to it. I have a little boy at home and I just feel my time needs to be spent with him now. Minor leagiue football has given me everything I looked for it to give me,” White said