Lowndes Academy falls to Crenshaw Christian in hard fought penalty plagued contest

Published 2:05 pm Saturday, September 9, 2017

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By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

The Class A, Region 1 Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) Lowndes Academy Rebels fell to 1-2 on the season and 1-1 in regional play with a 26-21 region loss to the Crenshaw Christian Academy Cougars at home Friday night.

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The contest proved to be a physical hard hitting, penalty plagued contest in which the Cougar running attack ultimately broke the Rebels down.

The Rebels opened the season with 19-12 win over the Southern Academy Cougars at home, but fell on an extremely long road trip to Freeport High in Freeport, Fla. 34-0. That set the Rebels up for Friday night’s regional tilt at home against the Cougars.

Lowndes Academy head football coach Bob Taylor said his team played really hard, but too many mistakes cost his team.

He said Crenshaw did a good job with their offense and played really well. He said, “Hats off to them, they are a pretty good football team.” He said his Rebels, “We’ve just got a lot of work left to do.”

Taylor acknowledged that his team had a chance to win at the end Friday night. But he said, “We’ve just got to get back to work and get better. We’ve got a tough Chambers team coming in.” That contest this Friday will be another important region game for the Rebels.

Crenshaw Academy head football coach Mike Sims said following the game against Lowndes, “It was a hard-fought game… first region game of the year between the two football teams. And you could see how important it was, because in our region, losing a football team like we did last year, South Montgomery, now you’re automatically coming in playing for a playoff position. So, it puts as much pressure on you right off the bat as anything.”

He said, “I thought both clubs played really, really hard. You know, a pretty good football game for the first (region contest) of the year.”

He said Gauge Cornelius played hard for the Cougars at defensive end and at quarterback some and accounted for six sacks. He said Logan Johnson was an “animal” for the cougars. And he recognized Drew Gibson on offense for his rushing and receiving yardage.

Sims also credited the play of his big guys up front, as well.

He said, “We played pretty well all together. We just need to clean some things up.”

The Rebels took an 8-0 lead in this contest on a 15-yard run by quarterback Jon Johnson and a 2-point conversion connection from Brian Rayburn to Johnson at the 8:26 mark of the second quarter.

But Cougars responded with a 75-yard run for a touchdown by Quashan Laprade at the 7:42 mark of the second quarter to make it an 8-6 contest in favor of the Rebels.

The Cougars struck again on an 80-yard punt return by Drew Gipson for a touchdown at the 6:10 mark of the second quarter to take a 12-8 lead.

The visiting Cougars upped their lead to 18-8 at the 3:31 mark of the third quarter on 2-yard Laprade run.

But the Rebels would not quit. Johnson connected with John Morgan at the 1:22 mark of the third quarter on a 71-yard touchdown pass. And Johnson booted the point after to make it an 18-15 contest still in favor of the Cougars.

But the relentless Crenshaw running game struck on a 51-yard run by Gipson with about 43 seconds left in the third quarter. And for good measure, Gipson caught a 2-point conversion pass for 26-15 Cougar lead.

Lowndes would score one more time on a 39-yard Daniel James fumble return for a touchdown with 9:24 left in the game.

For the Rebels, Johnson was six of 14 passing for 104 yards and one touchdown. And he led the Rebels in rushing with 32 carries for 105 yards a touchdown.

Morgan caught three passes for the Rebels for 79 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively for the Rebels, Buddy Johnson had five tackles, two assists and one tackle for loss, Cole Crook had four tackles and four assists and Landon Hooper has three tackles and two assists.

Laprade led the Cougars with 20 carries for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Gipson of the Cougars had three carries for 87 yards and a touchdown. He also had an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown.

This was a penalty plagued contest with 177 yards in penalties between the two teams, 65 yards for Lowndes and 112 yards for Crenshaw.

Lowndes had 266 yards in total offense, 104 passing and 162 rushing while Crenshaw Christian had 307 total yards of offense, 52 yards passing and 255 yards rushing.