Rebels get 41-20 homecoming win over Sparta

Published 9:19 pm Saturday, October 22, 2016

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal
The Lowndes Academy Rebels completed a 50th anniversary homecoming celebration Friday night with a 41-20 Class A Region 1 victory over the Sparta Academy Warriors.
The win improves the playoff bound Rebels to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in regional play.
“It was a real good win for us. Everything went well,” said Lowndes Academy head football coach Bob Taylor. He said the team played a little sloppy Friday night, but said Sparta had something to do with that. However, he said, “I was proud of our effort where we kind of fought back and took control of the game. We’ve just got a lot of thing we have to work on to get ready for the playoffs.”
Taylor said he felt Jon Johnson did a good job at quarterback, Brian Rayburn did a good job at receiver, and the line looked good at at stages of the game.
Statistically this game was closer than the score would reflect, but the Warriors turned the ball over to the Rebels three times while the Rebels turned the ball over once.
On the night, Lowndes Academy had 309 yards total offense including 149 yards through the air and 160 yards on the ground. Sparta had 296 yards total offense including 96 passing and 200 rushing.
For the Rebels:
Johnson completed eight of 14 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns. He turned the ball over once via interception.
But Johnson also rushed nine times for 35 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Rayburn caught five passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He also completed one pass for a 2-point conversion.
Brandon Reid had 15 carries for 77 yards and one touchdown,
Ford Rosser caught one pass for nine yards and a touchdown.
John Taylor received one pass for a 2-point conversion and kicked three extra points.
Mason McCurdy returned one interception for a touchdown.
The game got off on the wrong foot for the Rebels when Sparta scored first at the 7:58 mark of the first quarter on a 45-yard run to take a 6-0 lead.
However, Johnson answered for the Rebels with a 2-yard run and Taylor added the extra point kick at the 6:15 mark of the first quarter to make it a 7-6
But the Warriors were intent on spoiling homecoming when Sparta scored on a 56-yard pass play to take a 12-7 lead at the 4:48 mark of the first quarter.
However, the Rebels would have none of it. Johnson hit Rayburn for a 62-yard touchdown strike. And Rayburn hit Taylor for the 2-point conversion to make it a 15-12 contest at the 11:48 mark of the second quarter.
But those pesky Warriors still wouldn’t go away. Sparta answered with a 3-yard run and 2-point conversion to take a 20-15 lead at the 7:44 mark of the second quarter.
Still, the Rebels were determined to keep the homecoming crowd happy. And Johnson hit Rosser for a 9-yard touchdown pass to give the Rebels a 21-20 lead at the 5:49 mark of the second quarter.
The Rebels would follow up a Sparta interception by Brandon Reid with a 1-yard touchdown run by Reid and Taylor kick to take a 28-20 lead with 2:47 left in the half.
And game was turned fully the Rebels way with about 31 second left in the first half when McCurdy returned a Sparta interception 80 yards for a touchdown to make it a 34-20 Lowndes Academy lead.
The final score of the night came at the 11:49 mark in the fourth quarter when Johnson hit Rayburn on a 13-yard pass play and Taylor added the point after to make it a 41-20 contest.
The Rebels will conclude the regular season schedule on the road Friday, Oct. 28 to face the Southern Academy Cougars in a non-regional bout.
However, the Rebels have clinched a spot in the playoffs.

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