Kinston rallies with late TD, downs Rebels

Published 12:29 am Saturday, September 27, 2014

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.

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“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.