Pike heading to playoffs with win over Morgan

Published 3:00 am Saturday, October 22, 2016

submittedPhoto/daniel evans Pike qurterback Reed Johnson reaches for yardage while getting tackles in Pike’s 13-6 win over Morgan on Friday night.

submittedPhoto/daniel evans
Pike qurterback Reed Johnson reaches for yardage while getting tackles in Pike’s 13-6 win over Morgan on Friday night.

In a matchup that was essentially a playoff game, Pike Liberal Arts made just enough plays to knock off Morgan Academy to clinch a playoff berth.

The Patriots (6-3) won 13-6 and held Morgan Academy (5-5) scoreless for the final three quarters.  Reed Jinright scored the game winning touchdown on a quarterback sneak in the fourth quarter and then intercepted a Morgan Academy pass with under a minute left to preserve the Pike lead.

The loss knocks Morgan Academy out of the Alabama Independent School Association playoffs.

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“I was proud of our kids because we did what it took to win,” said Pike coach Gene Allen. “We got a couple of turnovers in the first half that us in the game and we held on to win at the end.”

The Senators struck first on a 59-yard touchdown run by Brayton Brown around left end. The score came with 2:30 left to play in the first quarter, but Brown’s extra point sailed wide right.

On their next drive, Morgan drove right back down the field. Gunnar Henderson threw a 24-yard pass to Sam Plummer to move Morgan to the Pike 26-yard line. Three plays later Henderson threw a 10-yard pass to Brown to set Morgan up at the 6-yard line.

On the next play, the Senators fumbled and Pike recovered.

The Patriots moved the ball 40 yards on the ensuing drive, but eventually had to punt. On the punt, Pike bobbled the snap and fumbled the ball away its own 22-yard line.

The Senators gave the ball right back on the next play when they fumbled a snap.

Five plays later, Pike’s J.T. Ball raced 49 yards around right end for a game-tying touchdown. The Patriots had trouble on the extra point and Jinright was sacked, keeping the score tied 6-6 going into halftime.

Pike fumbled on the opening drive of the first half, but Morgan couldn’t turn the turnover into points. The Senators drove to the Pike 36-yard line, but Brown was held to 1-yard on a fourth and three play.

The Patriots marched 65 yards on the next drive.

The entire game seemed to change on a third and 20 with Pike at its own 24. On that play, Jinright connected with Cason Murphee on a 27-yard pass, allowing the Patriots to keep the ball instead of punting it back to the Senators. Morgan head coach Josh Thacker said that play was huge.

“The quarterback made a great throw, receiver made a great catch, and it was just not in the stars for us tonight,” Thacker said.

Two plays later, a pass interference call moved the ball to the Morgan 35-yard line. The Patriots advanced to the Senators 3-yard line after a 16-yard run by Reece Burbage. Jinright snuck it in from there, putting Pike up 13-6 with 10:01 left.

In the final ten minutes, Pike held Morgan on two drives to preserve a spot in the playoffs. Jinright intercepted a Henderson pass with under a minute left to clinch the win.

Pike plays Lee-Scott Academy next week and Morgan plays Autauga Academy.