Story by Griffin Pritchard | Publisher
Photos by CAScoreboard Photography Staff
MONTGOMERY — Two signs hung from the Lowndes Academy stands: “Score” & “Defense.” The Rebels relied on both to knock off Jackson Academy 21-6 in the Class A Championship game Friday afternoon inside Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.
“We never thought we’d be where we are and these boys worked so hard,” said Shane Moye, Rebels Coach. “Every week we are overmatched and outmanned. They play with so much heart, so much heart. I am honored to be able to coach these young men.’
The Rebels – who forced multiple turnovers throughout the 48 minutes of championship football – were able to shut down the Eagles ground game and force them into obviously uncomfortable passing situations.
“I told them to get back to what we do and to stop freaking out,” said Eagles Coach Jacob Webb. “And we did that (calmed down). But we kept turning the ball over and got beat by a really freaking good football team over there.”
The Rebels (11-3) – dropped regular season games to Macon East, Chambers and Sparta, all playoff teams this season – won eight straight leading into Friday’s championship affair.
Inside Cramton Bowl, Lowndes jumped ahead 7-0 to start the game after driving to the Jackson 14. Cooper Dansby rolled out and connected with Clayton Hussey from 13 yards out for the score. With the kick, the Rebels carried a 7-0 lead into the second period.
Tyler Tyus added six more to the Rebels’ tally scoring on a scramble. The two-point throw was errant leaving the score at 13-0 Lowndes.
The Rebels – off Eagle turnovers – had opportunities to double the score but turned the ball over on fourth downs.
The half ended with Lowndes up 13-0.
The Eagles – out of the break – turned in their only scoring drive of the afternoon.
After a series a short runs, Joseph Barnes broke loose on a 42-yard run down the sideline but was dragged down inside the Lowndes 5.
After a quick handoff was handled in the backfield, Jackson’s quarterback called his own number, lowering his head and plowing forward for the touchdown.
The Eagles went for two, but the runner was met in the backfield moments after receiving the toss.
The game was ultimately put away midway through the fourth. On second and 11, the Eagles runner was met in the backfield by a host of white jerseys forcing the ball free. In the scrum of grabbing fingers, the ball was finally recovered by the Rebels at the Jackson 6.
Moye: “We felt like we had to sell out to stop the run because they are so good up front. They have a great coaching and are a great program. We made sure every week that we were going to have an extra man on defense to help stop the run and force them to throw. When they did that, we were able to take advantage and force turnovers. That was the difference in the game.”
Tyus – on first down – took the snap and followed his blockers in for the score. Scoring two points on a fake field goal puts the Rebels up 21-6.
The Eagles were unable to answer – ultimately taking the final possession with less than :10 on the clock. Jackson dialed up a hook’n’lateral play but were unable to convert as the Rebels cheering section counted down to the end of the game.
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