Rebels fall hard in season opener

Published 12:03 am Saturday, August 31, 2013

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

The Lowndes Academy Rebels got chomped at home by the 2012 2A AISA State Runner-up Clarke Prep Gators 52 to 22 Friday night in a regional season opener.

But from the opening kickoff it appeared this was going to be a more competitive contest with the Rebels driving the ball from their own 33-yard-line to the Gators’ 8-yard line.

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But on a fourth-and-two play, junior quarterback Cody Harrell threw an interception to the Gators’ Charles Kane at the 5-yard line and the momentum slipped away.

“That really took a lot of wind out of us,” second year Lowndes Academy head football coach Matt Marshall said. “And of course when they came out and took about five plays and punched it in, we knew we were playing catch-up instead of them playing catch-up and that was going to be hard.”

The Gators did go on to push the Rebels up and down the field for 38-7 halftime lead.

The Rebels scored at the 10:06 mark of the second quarter, however, on an 8-yard Harrell run. And Harrell added the point after to make it a 24-7 contest in favor of the Gators at that point.

The Rebels would go on to score twice in the second half.

With the Rebels down 52-7, junior Thomas Ward scored from 18 yards out to make the score 52-13. And senior Garrett Headley added the point after to make it a 52-14 contest.

Headley would score from one yard out and get the 2-point conversion to make it a 55-22 final score in favor of the Gators with 1:53 left in the game.

“I felt we competed the second half,” Marshall said. “The second half we didn’t give up. We didn’t quit.”

He said, “The only thing I was disappointed in my guys from the first half, we put our heads down for a good portion of the first quarter. If we hadn’t done that we could have been more competitive.”

Marshall said, “We can compete with teams like this. We’re not where they’re at yet, but we can get there. And we want to get in the playoffs.”

He said he liked the play of Ward, who played inside on defense and “never gave up.”

Marshall said his Rebels had some key injuries, but nothing serious. Yet losing quarterback Harrell in the first half put the Rebels in a different game plan.

“But we’re going to go back to work and see what we can get better on,” Marshall said.

On the night, Harrell was 4 of 13 passing for 50 yards. He also had an 8-yard rushing touchdown and gained 22 yards on six carries.

Headley rushed 17 times for 108 yards and one 1-yard touchdown.

And Ward rushed eight times for 50 yards and one 18-yard touchdown.

The Rebels were led on defense by sophomore David Hussey who had six tackles and three assists.

Senior Jarrette Pope was a man-child for the Clarke Prep Gators, rushing 11 times for 106 yards in the first half alone.

He rushed for a total of 179 yards on 15 carries for the night and scored four touchdowns.

The Rebels will host Sparta Friday, Sept. 6 in a non-regional tilt.

Lowndes Academy Rebel Garrett Headley (3) rushed for 108 yards and one touchdown against the Clarke Prep Gators

Lowndes Academy Rebel Garrett Headley (3) rushed for 108 yards and one touchdown against the Clarke Prep Gators