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PLAY BALL: Rec League Flag Football (PHOTO GALLERY)

PLAY BALL: Rec League Flag Football (PHOTO GALLERY)

Above, T’quary Kelly runs the ball for the Texans Tues. night at their rec league flag football game against the Packers. The Packers won 29-5. (MESSENGER PHOTOS/APRIL GARON)
Above, T’quary Kelly runs the ball for the Texans Tues. night at their rec league flag football game against the Packers. The Packers won 29-5. (MESSENGER PHOTOS/APRIL GARON)

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Ground game helps Goshen edge Central (w/Photos)

Ground game helps Goshen edge Central (w/Photos)

Goshen running back Terrainno Griffin (22) runs the ball. (Messenger Photo/ Chip Dillard)
Goshen running back Terrainno Griffin (22) runs the ball. (Messenger Photo/ Chip Dillard)

By Devin Smith

GOSHEN – The Eagles’ homecoming victory didn’t come how head coach Bart Snyder planned, but it’s hard to be to upset over a victory, he said.

“Well we’re excited about getting a win, but it wasn’t exactly in the way that we think we should’ve gotten it,” Snyder said. “We’re a much better ball team than that by all means. It’s difficult when you’re playing that many young guys out there and having to deal with some injuries that we have to overcome.”

The Eagles, 5-2, defeated Central-Hayneville 21-14 on Friday.

The energy of the crowd wasn’t enough to energize the Eagles in the early going, and a drive-killing fumble late in the first quarter helped to dig Goshen into a 6-0 hole on a 41-yard pass from the Lions.

However, deficit was what Goshen needed to get on track, and on their next defensive outing Terrainno Griffin intercepted a pass for the Eagles that started to build momentum for the Eagles.

Kendrez White would score on that same drive from just a yard out to give Goshen its first lead of the game at 7-6 in the second quarter. Zack Alford gave the Eagles another score in the second quarter from within the 5-yard line to give his team a 14-6 lead over the Lions.

Central-Hayneville tried to tie the game up before the half, and had several chances within Goshen’s red zone, but a key goal line stand drained the remainder of the clock to keep the eight-point advantage.

“That was a great goal line stand going into half time that ended up saving the ball game for us,” Snyder said. “They were on the inch line and never got in, which was great to see from the defense there.”

The Eagles’ momentum continued to sustain itself through half time, and the Eagles were able to use a big kick return to their advantage on the way to another score on the ground courtesy of Qua Simmons to take a commanding 21-6 lead.

The ground game continued to be the Eagles strong suit, but Snyder said it wasn’t the plan going in to the game.

“When you’re struggling passing the football, you are going to have to run it effectively,” Snyder said.

“That makes it even harder on the backs to get yards and on the line to hold their blocks when they can bring everybody. We have to start completing some passes and working harder at getting open on routes in order for us to be a complete football team.”

It was after the third score that Central-Hayneville started making a push toward a comeback, and the Lions defense was the catalyst with a 42-yard pick-six on White to end Goshen’s three-touchdown streak on the Lions.

“That was tough,” Snyder said. “I think it was the fourth turnover we had in the game, and three of them were when we were going in to score.”

“We can’t throw the football into a situation like that, when you do then that is what’s going to happen. It wasn’t a good play, and we made it a worse play by making the throw that we did.”

The Lions had one final chance to tie the game with a hail Mary, but it fell to short enough to let Goshen Escape with a victory that will put them in the playoffs.

“It means a lot to our guys, that was one of the goals we wanted to achieve,” Snyder said.

“But just getting to the playoffs is not all we want to do. We want to host the playoffs. Hopefully, a win next week will lead us to possibly having that.”

Goshen travels to Highland Home next week.

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Trojan Win:CHHS knocks off 7A powerhouse Davidson

Trojan Win:CHHS knocks off 7A powerhouse Davidson

Charles Henderson cornerback Bryson Gandy tries to intercept Friday during the Trojans’ game with Davidson. (Troy Messenger photos/Joey Meredith)

By Dan Smith / Messenger

The Trojans of Charles Henderson High have to feel good about the direction their football team is heading following an important 38-21 victory over Class 7A Davidson of Mobile Friday evening in Troy’s Veteran’s Memorial Stadium, but their hearts and minds were also on the health and well-being of senior defensive back Demario Harris, who left the stadium by ambulance after a serious injury in the first half.

Harris, a senior defensive and special teams leader, was transported to Dothan for further tests, and according to initial reports Harris was believed to be unconscious when he left the stadium.

The Trojans played with passion and determination the entire game, especially in the absence of Harris.

Senior running back Mondaris Dixon led the Trojans on the night with 160 yards and three touchdowns, senior quarterback Austin Ingram connected on 8 of 17 passes for 69 yards and a TD, and senior Richard McBryde took a fake punt 43 yards for a touchdown in some of the many Trojan highlights.

It was Davidson scoring first on a 9-yard touchdown carry by senior running back David Reese, finishing off a five-play drive highlighted by a 49-yard pass play from quarterback J.Michael Riley to James Clemons.

The Warriors led 7-0 with 7:21 remaining in the first quarter, but the Trojans recovered a fumble at the Davidson 13, and two plays later Dixon took the ball around the right end, dove from some three yards out, and did a head over heels somersault for the TD when a defender clipped his feet as he flew towards the end zone.

Ben Salmon’s extra point was good and the score was tied 7-7 at the 5:54 mark.

CHHS went up 14-7 on their next possession when facing fourth-and-three the Trojans set up to punt, but blocking back Richard McBryde took the snap and bulled his way 43 yards for the touchdown, hurdling one would-be tackler and taking it in for the score.

Salmon’s extra point put CHHS up 14-7.

Davidson moved the ball on their next series but Marquis Simmons picked off a pass giving them the ball at their own 47.

Two plays later Dixon sprinted 49 yards for the touchdown, and Salmon’s kick put the Trojans up 21-7 as the first quarter came to a close.

Davidson scored with 1:42 remaining in the half on a 15-yard pass from Marquese Manuel to James Clemons, cutting the lead to 21-14.

CHHS recovered another fumble midway of the third quarter at the Davidson 12 yard line, with Austin Ingram connecting with sophomore receiver Kobe Griffin for an 11-yard TD strike, and Salmon’s kick was true for the 28-14 advantage.

Davidson answered with a 10-play scoring drive, as Decklan Brooks went in from three-yards out to cut the CHHS lead to 28-21.

The Trojans then put together a 10-play scoring drive, with Salmon drilling a 40-yard field goal with 10:10 remaining in the game for the 31-21 lead.

Dixon added his third touchdown of the game with 2:48 remaining on a 5-yard carry, with Salmon’s kick giving CHHS a 38-21 advantage.

Davidson got the ball back but consecutive sacks by McBryde and Stephon Moore of Davidson’s quarterback Manuel stopped any late drive before it could get started.

“I am very proud of this football team, proud of where we are going, and overcoming what happened two weeks ago with two losses and bouncing back,” said CHHS Head Coach Brad McCoy. “We have been bouncing back and finding a way to improve, and what a way to play this football team like we did tonight and coming away with a win against a very good Davidson football team.

“It is just a confidence builder each and every time we can go out and be successful, for all of these new players that we have got, and that’s what we need. We need that going into region play next week and it could not happen at a better time.”

McCoy felt the running game was key to the success of the outcome of Friday’s game, and he could not have been any more pleased.

“We have talked as a staff, and anyone in football understands it, that if you are able to run the football, it makes everything else so much easier,” McCoy said. “It makes play calling easier, it makes all the situations that much easier. We were able to convert on third down, and able to run it to set up nice throws. We took our shots and chances on special teams that ended up being big plays for us.

“Defensively I really liked the way we flew around the ball. We have talked two weeks about we have got to get better about getting 11 guys to the football. I was impressed with our defensive line controlling the line of scrimmage like we knew they had to for us to have a chance. My hat is off to them, I am very proud of these kids.”

CHHS returns home this upcoming Friday night against Sidney Lanier of Montgomery for the Trojans Homecoming.

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Last-minute TD gives Bulldogs win over Luverne

BRUNDIDGE – In a game characterized by its intensity, the Pike County Bulldogs rallied in the final 30 seconds of the fourth quarter to beat the Luverne Tigers 20-18.

Luverne, a 2A region 3 team, came into the game 2-3 and managed to get ahead early with a score in the first quarter, but the PAT was no good. The Bulldogs’ defense kept the Tigers on their toes with hard hits across the board, and the Bulldogs retaliated with a score of their own with just 50 seconds left in the half. Head coach for the Bulldogs Fred Holland said leaving the game at halftime with a 6-6 score leveled the playing field for the Bulldogs.

“It means a lot to go into a game like that and come out with the win,” Holland said. “We made a couple of big plays. I think our score before half was big.”

The Bulldogs came back after the half ready to play, but the Tigers pushed the score to 12-6 with just under four minutes left in the third quarter. The Bulldogs came back to tie the came up less than a minute later. The Bulldogs went for a two-point conversion but it was no good. The Tigers scored again with seven minutes left in the quarter, and after several turnovers and incomplete passes it looked like the Dogs were out of the fight.

But the dogs were able to fight after a fumble recovery by Stevie Smiley for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs maintained composure of the ball and drove it into the end zone to tie the game up with 32 seconds left in the game. Instead of going for just the PAT, the Bulldogs went for the two-point conversion and Holland said it was something the team had been working on since the summer.

“I felt like they would be really going after it,” Holland said. “I knew that if we went for it then they could block it, and that could put them right back in the game. I felt like it was something that we need. It comes back from 7-on-7 during the summer. We did it a lot. We failed almost every time, but it was a good stepping-stone for us in that situation. The guys relished the moment of just being able to do it. “

Smiley led the team defensively and offensively for the night. Smiley accounted for two of the Bulldogs touchdowns and two fumble recoveries for the Bulldogs. Smiley also led the defense with six tackles, but Smiley said he really owed it all to his team. “I just told my team to keep fighting and to never get down,” Smiley said. “We just kept pushing. I told coach at the end to give me the ball, I can make the play, and that’s what happened.”

Another key player for the Bulldogs was Deshon Cowling. Cowling had the one long carry for the team for the night with a 16-yard carry. Cowling said the win against Luverne would have a huge impact on the team.

“I just believed in my team, and I told coach to give me the ball and he gave me the ball,” Cowling said. “If it wasn’t for those boys I couldn’t do what I did. It was a hard game, I can say that. It showed us because even though we’re down that at the end of the game if we work hard we can be successful.”

While the game was a success for the Bulldogs, Holland said there were a few things the team could have capitalized on that they did not. “We faced a little adversity in the game,” Holland said. “We failed to complete some plays on offense and defense and we kind of fell behind. But I felt like we were still playing to stay in the game.”

The Bulldogs are currently 3-2 overall and will host Barbour County next Friday in Bulldog Stadium.

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Kinston rallies with late TD, downs Rebels

By Devin Smith / Messenger

ZION CHAPEL – The energy was high at Zion Chapel on Friday evening as the Rebels hosted the Kinston Bulldogs for homecoming, but a late touchdown gave the Bulldogs a 14-8 win to spoil the celebration.

Coach Bradley Bowers and his players were obviously down after the tough loss, but Bowers was still proud of the effort he saw from his team.

“We came out and had a little bit of a slow start,” Bowers said. “Then we came back and had a chance to win it at the end. All you can ask is that your guys play hard enough to give you a chance at the end. I’m very proud of the way the guys played, this is just a tough one to swallow.”

The Rebels struggled to move the ball on Kinston from the opening snap and were only able to run three plays in the first quarter.

Kinston was able to control the clock for the remainder of the first quarter, capping off the nearly 10-minute drive with a touchdown run from Alex Turner to take an 8-0 lead.

Eventually the adrenaline wore off and Zion Chapel was able to settle down and turn the game into a defensive confrontation.

Both teams held each other for the remainder of the first half, and the play of the defenses was something that Bowers was prepared to face.

“I said earlier in the week that I thought Kinston was a good matchup for us, and I think we were a good matchup for them as well,” Bowers said. “I figured it would be a close game, probably within a touchdown.”

Zion Chapel had an opportunity to even the score late in the second quarter after driving the ball into the Bulldogs red zone; however a fumble by Chris Adair on second and goal ended the Rebels’ chances of closing in on Kinston.

Adair would get his redemption in the second half, and after a scoreless third quarter for both teams he found his way to the end zone from 21 yards out to tie the game 8-8 early in the fourth.

The Bulldogs refused to back down from Zion Chapel and answered the bell on the following drive to regain the lead.

The Rebels tried to orchestrate a touchdown drive of their own with under five minutes to play and even managed to score again on a short run from Adair.

Unfortunately for Zion Chapel the touchdown was called back due to a holding call on a receiver on the goal line, and two plays later on third down Justin Mobley’s pass was intercepted by Ashley Kelly to seal the win for Kinston.

“That is a tough one to swallow when you’re at home and the game is on the line,” Bowers said. “But that’s how it goes sometimes, and when it happens we have to bounce back and make something happen ourselves.”

After the game Bowers tried to empathize with his team after a valiant effort on the field, and tried to use it as a learning tool for more than just the game.

“I told the guys that there is nothing I can say to them to take away any of the hurt right now,” Bowers said.

“Football is a lot about life, and there are going to be times down the road in your life that you’re going to be hurting and nothing that anyone can say will make you feel better. They’re hurting because it means something to them, and when it’s something that is important to you than you just have to go back to work the next week ever harder than the week before.”

The Rebels, 1-5, travel to Central-Hayneville next week.


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Pike Lib dominates SMCA, 47-6

GRADY – The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots put up more than 375 yards offense on Friday in their 47-6 defeat of the South Montgomery County Academy Raiders.

“I’m just glad our kids kept their focus and played well,” said head coach Gene Allen. “They came out to play and they did well.”

Despite losing some of their starting players to injuries, including quarterback Drew Starling, the Patriots put on an impressive offensive show, scoring five touchdowns in the first half.

“We didn’t punt the ball until just before the end of the first half,” Allen said.

The first touchdown came on a 15-yard run by Tamaris Jamison, with a two-point conversion carry by JaMichael Jones.

Jones scored the second touchdown on a 13-yard carry, and Rush Hixon ran in for the two-point conversion.

“They had some woods on one end of the field, and we were worried about losing the balls so we opted to run two-point conversions instead of kick,” Allen said. “We kicked on the other end of the field.”

Pike’s third touchdown came on a 13-yard pass from halfback Marquis Christian to John David Cox, with the two-point conversion by Jones, giving Pike a 24-0 lead in the first quarter.

“We had three different people throw passes tonight,” Allen said.

Hixon was 2-2 with 25 yards and one touchdown; Reed Jinright was 3 for 7 for 41 yards and one touchdown; and Christian was 1 for 1 for 13 yards and one touchdown.

With the Patriots lined up on their own 46-yard line, Jones took a handoff from Hixon and ran 54 yards for the next touchdown. Tucker Johnson, a senior transfer from SMCA, scored the two-point conversion.

Johnson also scored Pike’s only touchdown in the second quarter on a 6-yard run. Hixon’s kick was good, giving Pike at 39-0 lead at the half.

Pike scored with about nine minutes remaining in the third quarter on a 6-yard pass from Reed Jinright to Cox, with Christian catching the pass for the two-point conversion.

SMCA scored its only touchdown of the game in the third quarter, but failed to convert on the PAT, leaving the score at 47-6.

“We got to play some players who haven’t been able to play, and it gave us a chance to not play some folks, who were banged up and needed to rest,” Allen said.

Nine players carried the ball for a combined 299 total rushing. Jones led the team with seven carries for 111 yards and two TDs; Johnson had three carries for 16 yards with one TD; Jamison had one carry for 13 yards, with one TD; Wood Jinright had 11 carries for 53 yards; Adam Grice, three carries for 29 yards; Trent Orum, six carries for 26 yards; Christian, one carry for 19 yards; Reed Jinright, five carries for 17 yards; Johnson, three carries for 15 yards; and Hayes Lee, one carry.

Defensively, Cameron Crowe, Jarrett Jordan, Tamaris Jamison and Anthony Atwell all had four tackles; Tanner Rogers Tyler Hussey, Justin Helms, Austin Allen and Sawyer McKenzie each had three tackles; Adam Grice, Parker Eley, Patrick O’Brien, Wood Jinright, C.J. Allen and Christian Clark each had two tackles; and Hayes Lee, Kiegan Simmons, Jeremy James, Cade Calhoun, Tucker Johnson and Josh Graham each had one tackle. Calhoun also intercepted a pass.

Pike, now 5-1, will host Chambers Academy on Friday.


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Defense key for Goshen

Defense proved key once again for the Goshen Eagles as they traveled to Dothan Friday night and came home with a 13-6 win over Houston Academy.

Head coach Bart Snyder said the team played well during the game overall, but Snyder said there were a still a few things the team would continue to work on.

“(Defense) is pretty much everything we do,” Snyder said. “We just are not executing like we need to. It calls to inexperience and being so young, and we’re not in the places we need to be. It’s game five and that’s stuff that should be worked on. We’re going to work on it everyday.”

The game was predominately a defensive one. The teams were scoreless after the first quarter, although Houston Academy scored a field goal in the second quarter to lead 3-0 at the half.

Goshen scored on its second possession of the half, with a two-yard run by Kendrez White, taking the lead at 6-3. A Houston Academy field goal in the fourth quarter tied the score at 6-6.

Goshen answered on its next possession, with a scoring drive capped off by Terraninno Griffin’s 29-yard touchdown run.

As the clock ticked down, Houston Academy drove down to the Eagles’ three-yard line, where a goal-line stand won the game for Goshen.

“They went for it and used their last time out and ran a play,” Snyder said. “We stopped the play, but the clock

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The CHHS defense wraps up an ACA ballcarrier Friday night in Montgomery.

By Dan Smith

MONTGOMERY – The Trojans of Charles Henderson got back on the winning track in a big way Friday night with a 69-30, Class 5A, Region 2 victory over Alabama Christian Academy at Wade Black Norton Memorial Field in Montgomery.

CHHS pulled out all the stops on offense, special teams, and the defense was outstanding against the ACA Eagles. Senior quarterback Austin Ingram threw four touchdowns, while Jalanate Smith had three touchdowns on the evening, and teammates Reilly Fox and Jared Wilson each had two touchdowns.

The Trojans placed emphasis on leadership and positive attitude this week in practice, and head coach Brad McCoy believes it showed Friday night in the win.

“I really think our team approached this game in a lot different fashion,” McCoy said. “Sometimes you have to learn from making mistakes, especially mistakes we made over the last two weeks, and that is what I commended our guys on after the game. I thought we came out tonight and the leadership was better, we made plays that we did not make the previous two weeks.

“We have got to continue to get better, and tonight is just one game. You can’t get satisfied and complacent. We have a chance to play at home in the first round of the playoffs if we can put these wins together. I think that’s our goal right now. Even though we didn’t get it done last week, we got to work on winning the next one.”

CHHS wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, taking the opening kickoff and moving 45 yards in six plays as Ingram completed three consecutive passes, including a 28-yard gain to Fox, followed by a one-yard touchdown carry by the freshman running back Wilson. The extra point by Ben Salmon was good for the 7-0 lead.

ACA punted on their next possession, and on the first play of the drive Ingram hit Fox again for a 39-yard touchdown pass, Salmon added the PAT, and the Trojans were up 14-0.

The Eagles again punted, and Mondaris Dixon broke the return down the sideline to the ACA 4-yard line, and three plays later Wilson ran it in for the 21-0 lead, with Salmon’s PAT.

Fox scored his second touchdown of the evening on a three-yard pass from Ingram in the closing minutes of the first quarter, and Salmon’s extra point was good for the 28-0 lead.

The Trojans went ahead 35-0 with 11:34 remaining in the first half when CHHS junior defensive back Omari Vaughans picked up a loose ACA fumble and scrambled 20 yards for the touchdown.

The Eagles got on the board with 10:20 remaining in the half on a 20-yard field goal by Hunter Hanson, cutting the CHHS lead to 35-3.

CHHS bounced right back on their next possession with Demario Harris taking the kickoff and finding nowhere to run to his right, reversed his direction and took the ball to the ACA 25 before being dragged down.

On the first play from scrimmage, Ingram hit junior Smith for a 25-yard touchdown, the PAT by Salmon was good, and CHHS led 42-3 with 9:54 remaining in the first half of play.

ACA did not keep the ball very long as two plays into their next possession Marquis Simmons intercepted the ball, giving the Trojans the ball at the ACA 41. Smith scored the next touchdown on a 6-yard run, and the Trojans led 48-3 as the extra point conversion was no good.

With 3:34 remaining in the first half, a power failure put the stadium in darkness, but power was restored and play resumed 30 minutes later.

The Eagles came out hot after the break, as quarterback Chandler Taylor connected with Ethan Anderson for a 10-yard touchdown pass reception, and the extra point by Hanson was good cutting the CHHS lead to 48-10.

Each team swapped possessions in the second half before the Trojans got on the board with Ingram connecting on four passes and Mondaris Dixon carrying the ball three times, including the 3-yard carry for the touchdown. The extra point by Conner Adler was good and CHHS led 55-10.

Ingram threw his fourth touchdown pass of the evening lofting a 52-yard strike to Kobe Griffin with 3:09 left in the third quarter, and the PAT by Will Young was good for the 62-10 advantage.

ACA got back on the board when Jack Martin scooped up a fumble and raced 30 yards for the touchdown, cutting the lead to 62-16.

CHHS bounced right back with another score when facing fourth and two at their own 43, Smith faked the punt and sprinted 57 yards down the right sideline for the touchdown, and the 69-16 lead with 11:09 left in the game.

ACA running back David Poole scored a touchdown from 11 yards out with 6:12 to go in the game, and backup quarterback Grayson Blackwell later hit Wesley Pugh for a touchdown strike of 36 yards for the last Eagle score, and the 69-30 final.

The Trojans improved to 2-2 on the year and 1-1 in Region 2 competition, and will host Class 7A Davidson of Mobile this upcoming Friday night in Veteran’s Memorial Stadium of Troy, while ACA, also 2-2 and 1-1, will travel to Fultondale.


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Doing work: Goshen gets off to early lead, capitalizes on explosive second quarter to down Calhoun

Doing work: Goshen gets off to early lead, capitalizes on explosive second quarter to down Calhoun


GOSHEN – The Goshen Eagles scored early the first quarter and never relinquished their lead as they beat the Calhoun Tigers 42-18 on Friday.

No. 6 D’Errius Kite, a key player for the Eagles offense, had 101 rushing yards on six carries and two interceptions. No. 22 Terrainno Griffin had 122 rushing yards on eight carries for the Eagles. Kite, a senior, said he was feeling good about where the season was heading.

“I have to give it up to the line,” Kite said. “They did their job, and when everybody does their job positive things happen. It feels good because we’re leaving something for the junior group. Each year we try to leave something for the younger guys, and I think we’re doing pretty good at that.”

No. 4 Tyler Phillips, led the defense with seven tackles and four assists.

While head coach Bart Snyder is pleased with the offense and defense, he said the team still has some opportunities to improve.

“Mentally, after having Mckenzie, Pike County, Luverne and New Brockton, games like that having to get up mentally we weren’t where we needed to be,” Snyder said. “We knew that, but we just hoped to fight through it and we did.”

After getting on the board early, the Eagles solidified their lead scoring four times in the second quarter. The Eagles scored with 13 seconds remaining in the half, and recovered the kickoff return on the Tiger one-yard line. They scored again on the following drive pushing their lead over the Tigers 42-6. Snyder said his team was really able to pull it together during the last eight minutes of the half.

“Those last eight minutes of the first half, we put 20-something points or more on the board in no time,” Snyder said. “We had effort from everybody … like Elijah Smith getting down the field and knocking the guy off the ball and then Jabronski Williams making the recovery there on the two-yard line with 30 seconds left to go in the half …

“(Because of those plays) we were able to put another touchdown on the board.”

The teams played two six-minute quarters in the second half, and Snyder was able to put in some of his younger players and see how they reacted.

“That’s a good thing,” Snyder said. “These guys come out here, and they practice every day. We’re not easy on them, by any means. You get on to them, and they don’t get in the game to play on Friday nights, and it’s kind of discouraging to get to that point. This gave us an opportunity to get them in the ball game, to get them some playing time to see what it feels like. Plus, it was an opportunity for us to see what those guys can do for us later on down the road.”

Goshen, now 3-1, will travel to Dothan to face the Houston Academy Raiders next Friday, and Snyder said the team would be working on the little things at practice this upcoming week.

“Number one thing is cut down on the little-bitty mistakes that we have,” Snyder said. “We’ve got to cut those things out and get ourselves ready to play mistake-free ball, because that’s a game here and next week they’re going to be a real good ball team. We’re just going to have to make sure we cut down on those little mistakes.”

The Raiders are currently 1-2-1 for the season, and kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. in Dothan.


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‘Everything going in right direction’ as Pike Lib defeats Evangel, 30-6

MONTGOMERY – After a sluggish start, the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots found their rhythm and scored four touchdowns in the second half to beat Evangel Christian Academy 30-6 on Friday.

“We had a good half,” head coach Gene Allen said of the second half of the game.

Actually, Allen said, the Patriots started the game a bit flat at the start. “We came out a little over confident,” he said. “And they came out, and ran a different defense that we hadn’t prepared for this week.”

While the Patriots held Evangel scoreless in the first half – in part thanks to key interceptions by C.J. Allen and Jarrett Jordan – the Pats were able to score only one touchdown on a 37-yard run by Adam Grice. The PAT by Rush Hixson was good, and Pike led 7-0.

“We talked about it at half time and got things worked out,” Allen said.

Patrick O’Brien ignited the spark in the second half when he forced an Evangel fumble on the opening kickoff.

“He caught the ball in mid-air and scored,” Allen said. “That was a big play. It got everything going in the right direction.”

JaMichael Jones scored the next two touchdowns, including a 72-yard run on a handoff from Hixson and 1-yard run up the middle.

In between, the Patriot defense stopped Evangel on a fourth-and-two attempt as Cameron Crowe sacked the quarterback for a 4-yard loss. “We stopped them twice when they went for it on fourth down,” Allen said.

Pike’s final score came on a 29-yard pass from freshman quarterback Reed Jinright to Marquese Christian.

“Our starting quarterback was hurt, so we let Rush (Hixon) quarterback some and when got into the spread set we put in our ninth-grade quarter, Reed (Jinright),” Allen said. “They both played pretty well.”

Jinright was 2 for 5 on the night, with one touchdown. Hixon carried for 16 yards on 7 attempts and was four-of-five on PAT for the night.

Other offensive leaders for the team were Jones with 119 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns; Grice with 55 yards on three carries with one touchdown; and Tamaris Jamison with 20 yards on four carries.

Pike had 241 yards total offense, including 206 rushing and 35 passing. Evangel had only 153 yards, with 140 rushing and 13 passing.

Defensively, Tyler Hussey led the Patriots with seven tackles; Crowe and Jordan had six each; Sawyer McKenzie had five; Grice and Anthony Atwell had three each; and Scout Buffy, O’Brien, Jamison and Parker Eley each had two tackles.

Evangel’s only score of the game came with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter, after a 13-play drive. The missed PAT set the final score at 30-6.

“We’re just going to keep working to get better,” Allen said after the game. “We’ve got to get a few of our guys healthy – Drew Starling is out and we have a couple of other guys banged up.

“After that, we’re going to keep working on fundamentals and getting better.”

The Patriots, 4-1, will host South Montgomery Academy on Friday.