Central-Hayneville knocks off Zion Chapel, 38-12

Published 12:10 am Saturday, October 5, 2013

Central-Hayneville head coach James Bibb stands just less than six feet tall, but his head was in the clouds walking out Greene Memorial Stadium Friday night. He and the Lions accomplished something that not Central team had done since October of 2007. They won a football game.

Central-Hayneville ended six years of frustration and defeats Friday night with a 38-12 win over Zion Chapel in Jack.

The relief and joy could be seen on Bibb’s face throughout the closing stages of the lop-sided win, and he thanked his players for never losing faith in him as a coach.

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“My hat goes off to the boys,” Bibb said. “They stayed with me, and I stayed with them. We work hard every single day to get to this moment. We have had our back against the wall so many times over the last couple of years, and they never quit believing. They are so special to me.”

Zion Chapel took the opening drive of the ball game to pay dirt with a 27-yard pitch and catch from Ethan Deal to Gaige Huckabee. However, the Lions never batted an eye and reeled off 30 straight points to blow the game open and cruise to the win.

The Lions used their speed and athleticism to get to the edge and roll up points and yards. Jaquez Bolling hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to respond to the Rebels opening drive.

Early in the second quarter, Terraris Saffold plunged in from four yards out, and following a Rebel punt, Central came up with its biggest play of the night.

Ladarius Thicklin first rolled right, then reversed field, broke no less than five tackles and spun his way in to the end zone to give Central a big 22-6 lead with 4:15 to go in the second quarter.

“We wanted to use our athleticism and get to the edge and make plays, Bibb said. “We were able to use that to our advantage and get some big plays. These boys believed they could win tonight, and they made it happen.”

Zion Chapel scored early in the third quarter on another Deal to Huckabee connection, but could not mount a late comeback.

Bradley Bowers, head coach of Zion Chapel, tipped his hat to Bibb and the Lions after the game.

“You have to give Central its due,” Bowers said. “Coach Bibb had his guys believing they could win this game, and they did. We had our chances tonight, and just didn’t make the plays. We didn’t tackle well, and turned the football over way too many times. We just have to flush this one, and get ready for next week.”

The win for the Lions snapped a 56-game losing streak, the longest in the state. Bibb said the near-two-hour ride back to Hayneville would be full of celebration.

“I just hope they don’t try to take the steering wheel,” Bibb said with a smile. “They will get to hoot and holler all the way home. They earned this.”