Story by Griffin Pritchard | Publisher
Photos by Sandie Free | CAScoreboard Photographer
CRAMTON BOWL (Montgomery) – The top-ranked Patrician Academy Saints rolled into Montgomery and into the end zone scoring over and over and over and over on the way to 60 points, 533 yards rushing and the AISA Class AA State Championship, defeating Clarke Prep 60-0 in a rematch of their regular season meeting.
“In the last couple of weeks they’ve been dialed in and I’ve been really proud of the work they’ve put in,” said Jonathan Lindsey, coach of the Saints. “We didn’t have to make too many adjustments. We just played our game. I think our coaches did a great job and we’ve put a lot on our players this week and they responded.”
In that game, Clarke Prep scored first and then gave up 48 straight to the Saints. Combined with Thursday’s whooping and the Saints have outscored the Gators 108-7.
The Saints – who finished the season as No. 1 in the final Alabama SportsWriters Football Poll – finished Thursday’s affair with 633 yards of total offense. Clarke Prep had 14 yards on 45 offensive snaps.
Lindsey said the defense was locked-in during the postgame media scrum and that stat serves as proof. The Saints gave up seven first downs, intercepted two passes and forced three fumbles (recovering one).
“They are so physical. They are ruthless up front and attack. That’s where they beat people,” said Ashley Carlisle, coach of the Gators after the game.
Patrician scored on their first possession and took a 7-0 lead into the second period. Carson Coody and Cecil Perry served as a one-two punch for the Saints as they methodically moved the ball 54 yards. Quarterback Tate Boykin connected with Coody on an 11-yard pass that moved the Saints to the Clarke Prep 4. The Saints capped the drive on a four-yard touchdown run by Boykin. With the kick, Patrician – unbeaten and for the most part unmatched this season – led 7-0.
Carlisle: “We thought we could get some stuff off early, but every time we snapped the ball we had somebody in our face. We couldn’t pass and we couldn’t run the ball.”
That score doubled midway through the second period. After taking over possession inside the Clarke Prep 40, the Saints ground their way down the field, scoring on a 4-yard run by Boykin. The kick pushed the mark to 14-0 Saints with 8:40 left before the intermission.
The Gators tried to respond, but fumbled the football on the next possession and were forced into a 4th and fourth and long after losing 13 yards on a fumble. After fielding the punt, the Saints were led by Perry with runs of 16, 20 and 13 moving Patrician inside the Clarke Prep 20. Following an incomplete pass tossed by Boykin, Perry had his number called again for a five-yard gain. The Saint was still short of the first down. They chose to just go for the end zone instead of trying to convert the down. Boykin took the snap and tossed an 11-yard dime to Coody for the score. With the kick, the Saints are marching, up 21-0 with 5:18 left before the intermission.
Clarke Prep punted and seemingly pinned the Saints back. Two plays and Patrician flipped the field. Coody ran for 8 yards and reeled in a Boykin pass for 67. Perry capped the drive, scoring on a 14-yard run with 2:15 left in the half. After missing the point after, the Saints lined up to kickoff leading 27-0.
To put things into perspective of how lopsided the first half of Thursday’s Class AA State Championship game is, Clarke Prep has (-)1 yard of total offense. Patrician has 306 (217 yards rushing) and has only been penalized twice for 20 yards.
“As long as you’ve got five guys that will work for you up front, you can execute,” said Lindsey. “We’ve been behind them all year (our offensive line including the wingbacks and tight ends) and in the past couple of weeks, they’ve really upped the ante.
Coody – who already had 100 yards with seconds left before the break – added 90 more to his total, taking the Boykin handoff into the Clarke Prep secondary and – after a cut – to the house. With 1.6 left in a very lopsided first half, the Saints pushed ahead 33-0. And if the Gators weren’t already demoralized from the score, the Patrician kickoff coverage team recovered a Gators fumble taking possession of the ball and Clarke Prep’s pride into the locker room.
The Saints gave the ball back but it was a temporary gift as the Gators were forced to punt it away after three downs of little-to-no offensive productivity. Defensively, Clarke Prep held Patrician to just three yards on the first two snaps. Third down though Boykin stepped back and connected with Jay Lindsey for a 39-yard gain. Set up at the Gators’ 18, Augustus Lewis popped free for a gain of 16 and then ended the drive with a 2-yard dive into the end zone. With the kick, the Saints expanded their lead to 40-0 with 8:00 left in the third quarter.
The hits to the Clarke Prep defense kept coming every time Patrician touched the ball. After punting the possession back to the Saints, Lewis broke free on a 57-yard gain. Perry followed, breaking free from 18 and then scored on a 3-yard run. Clarke Prep bowed their necks and blocked the point after, but the bleeding continued as the lead expanded to 46-0 with 4:17 left in the third.
Lewis, after a 21-yard run to start the drive, broke free on a gain of 36 but had the ball stripped by the Gators’ Trace Phillips and pounced on by a gaggle of orange and white jerseys. Clarke ends the third quarter driving near midfield. The fourth quarter kicked off with the Gators going backward as Trace Strickland was dropped for a 20-yard loss. Bryson Reed was able to get three but a penalty moved the Gators back five.
On third and much longer Connor Bumpers completed a pass to the hot-handed Boykin leading to a pick-six score for the Saints. With the Lindsey kick, the Saints pushed ahead 53-0 with 10:05 left to play.
With under 4:30 left in the 2022 season, Michael Kittrell scored the final points of the night for the Saints, punching it in from 13 yards out. With the kick, the Saints’ celebration was slowly starting. The lopsided championship mercifully came to an end as Patrician picked up the 60-0 victory over Clarke Prep to claim the Saints first state championship since defeating Chambers in 2017. With the Class A (Lowndes) and Class AA (Patrician) champions crowned, Class AAA is next as part of the AISA annual Tripleheader State Championship.
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