PLAS falls to Autauga

Published 12:22 am Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Pike Liberal Arts School football team fell on the road to conference foe Autauga Academy by a score of 42-28 Friday.

The matchup between the AAA Region 2 opponents showcased the up-tempo, air-raid attack of PLAS and the smash-mouth style run game of Autauga Academy.

“We had an opportunity to get back in the game,” said head coach Gene Allen. “But we had some turnovers, some penalties and it’s hard to overcome those things.”

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The Generals jumped out to an early lead with senior running back Tevin Sharpe ran the ball into the end zone to put the home team up 7-0 at the 6:06 mark in the opening quarter.

The Patriots bounced right back with a score of their own on the ensuing drive, and sophomore quarterback Reed Jinright found senior wide receiver Hayes Lee on a busted coverage for the 41-yard score. Jinright finished 23 of 41 passing for 310 yards to go along with three touchdowns and an interception.

Following a big stop on fourth down by the defense, PLAS capitalized on good field position on a 42-yard strike from Jinright to senior wide receiver Dacoda McConnell. With the score, the visitors took a 14-7 lead in the closing seconds of the first quarter. It was the last time the Patriots would have the lead in the game.

After the score, Autauga Academy embarked on a scoring rampage, scoring 27 straight points from the second quarter to midway in the third. The Generals’ offense was able to march the ball downfield at will in the second quarter, using a steady run game and some trickery to take control of the game in the first half.

Senior running back Joseph Burke closed out a strong second quarter with a 91-yard scamper into the end zone to make the score 28-14 going into the locker room.

Both sides traded scores in the third quarter, with Autauga Academy keeping the visitors at arm’s length with the scoreboard reading 34-21 going into the final quarter.

The Patriots came within striking distance with 4:49 left in the game when McConnell caught his second touchdown reception of the night, courtesy of a 20-yard toss from Jinright. With the touchdown, the visitors looked to take advantage of the missed extra point and take the lead. McConnell finished the game with three receptions for 87 yards and two touchdown catches.

Autauga Academy had other ideas, however, and the Generals sealed the game with a five-yard touchdown run from senior fullback Mason Friday in the closing minutes of the game.

“We didn’t make some tackles when we needed to,” said Allen. “They’ve got some talented backs and the fact that we’ve had some guys hurt didn’t help, so we had to move some people around. I was really proud of our kids and how they handled it.”

The Patriots will return to action when they go on the road to take on Escambia Academy on Friday, Oct. 16. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.