E.A. Sports Today

Tough way to lose

American Christian scores in final minute to dash Munford’s dreams, 16-13 in Class 4A playoffs

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

TUSCALOOSA — American Christian Academy scored on a 10-yard pass with 55 seconds left in the game to culminate a last-minute drive that knocked off Munford 16-13 in the Class 4A playoffs Friday night. 

The pass came on the end of a 65-yard drive that started when the Patriots stopped the Lions from going in for a game-clinching score with five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

“Our kids played extremely hard tonight,” Munford coach Michael Easley said after his first playoff game as a head coach. “Going on the road to a region champion is always tough, but our guys handled it great. They did everything they could do to win that game, but I just got out-coached tonight.”

Sylvester Smith got things started for the Lions as he returned a punt 65 yards to set up an early 30-yard field goal by Dakota Frank to put Munford up 3-0.

The Patriots matched it with D.J. Daly kicking a 24-yard field goal in the second quarter to tie the game.

The Lions were held to just 11 yards of offense until late in the half when they put together a 96-yard drive. Smith connected on a 46-yard pass to Riley Smith to spark the drive and Frank kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired in the half.

ACA put together a drive late in the third quarter and capped it on a 3-yard pass from quarterback Carson Sute to Davis Dare and the Patriots led 10-6.

The Lions came back with a beautiful drive of their own as Smith was chewing up yards on the ground. Smith threw a 14-yard pass that got deflected into the hands of Javion White into the corner of the end zone. Frank’s extra point kick gave Munford a 13-10 lead.

Munford had another drive late in the fourth quarter that stalled, setting up the game-winning score by the Patriots.  The score came on a 10-yard pass that Eric Hines leaped for and grabbed with a Munford defender hanging all over him.

“Our defense played great to hold them to 16 points, but to hold an offense as good as them to only 16 points, we have to score enough to win the game,” Easley said. “We just didn’t get the job done on offense and that’s my fault.”

The Lions (6-5), the fourth seed from Region 4, were playing the No. 1 seeded Patriots (9-2) from Region 3 in their first playoff game since 2017. The year has been a good one for the Lions. Their only regular-season losses were to ranked 4A opponents Anniston, Jacksonville, Handley and Cherokee County, and they almost got their first playoff win since 2015 Friday night.

“I’m very proud of my kids and the way they handled the season,” Easley said. “Such a good group of kids to be around.”

MUN (13)ACA (16)
101st Downs12
2-8-1Passes (C-A-I)12-22-0
66Passing yds162


First Downs                10           12

Rushing Yards      41-180          25-69

Passing   Yards            66              162

Total Yards                 246             231

Att-Comp-Int          2-8-1            12-22-0                          

Punts                      5-20.4         3-43.0

Penalties                 12-80           6-80

Munford (6-5)3307 –13
ACA (9-2)0376 –16

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