Rebels advance to face Shelby

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 13, 2004

Lowndes Academy looked like the Rebel teams of old as they kept the ball on the ground to wear out the Cornerstone Christian Chargers 28-7. The win was the ninth in a row for the Rebels and places them in the Class 1-A semifinals where they will host Shelby next week.

The Rebels started fast jumping out to a 14-0 lead before the Chargers knew what hit them. The Rebels scored on their very first possession of the game driving 59 yards in only 2:48. The drive ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Drew Harrell to Caylon Conway. Harrell also added the extra point to make the score 7-0 in favor of Lowndes.

The Rebels got another quick score late in the first as they drove 46 yards in a little over a minute to pad their lead. Eric St. Cin would carry the load this time sprinting 14 yards for the score. The PAT was again good to make the score 14-0 Rebels.

Neither team was able to muster much of an offensive threat in the second quarter. The Rebels were plagued with penalties and the Chargers simply couldn't find an opening against the ruthless Rebel defenders. After swapping possessions several times the two teams headed to the locker room to make adjustments.

In the third it would be a break, not an adjustment that would get the Chargers going. Cornerstone defensive lineman Tyler Enders fell on a Rebel fumble at the nine-yard line to give the Chargers their best chance for points on the night. The Chargers made it count as tight end Heath Smith released into the endzone to get between the Rebel defenders and haul in a 9-yard touchdown pass. Smith also added the PAT to pull the Chargers to within a 14-7 score.

The Charger drive and the turnover proved to be a wake up call for the Rebels.

On their next possession Lowndes pounded the ball 55 yards for another score. The Rebel drive appeared to be in trouble as they faced a fourth and one at the Charger three-yard line.

Lowndes chose to go for it and sophomore Trent Pate made it count in a big way as he ripped through Cornerstone defenders for the touchdown.

Cornerstone found an opening to block the extra point leaving the score 20-7 in favor of Lowndes.

The Chargers were fired up, but still had no solution for the Rebel defense.

Clay Nichols and Whit Lane, who led the team with 10 tackles, each, kept the Chargers from posting any real threat on the ground. Meanwhile the defensive backfield batted away passes and stayed stride for stride with the Cornerstone receivers.

Lowndes finally got their offense clicking in the fourth.

The Rebels were able to run minutes off the clock and get the points needed to put the game out of reach.

On their final drive the Rebels drove only 41 yards but strung it out almost five minutes to make any hope of a Charger comeback impossible.

St. Cin got his second score of the game with only two minute left on a five-yard touchdown run. Harrell found his way around right end for the two point conversion to make the score 28-7 and send the Rebels to the semifinals.

While the score may not have shown it, the game was close at times.

Rebel head coach Art Sullivan said the challenge was just what his team needed to tune up for Shelby.

"We needed this game," Sullivan said. "We needed a tough ballgame. They have a good ballclub. They made us work and that is what we needed."

Sullivan said the passing prowess of the Charger offense had been a concern throughout the week. Sullivan said he was pleased with the way his defensive backs responded, but had hoped to hold on for the shutout.

"We were worried about them getting the long pass on us and I think they only got one," Sullivan said.

"We were disappointed they scored. We wanted to put another goose egg up there, but we shot our selves in the foot a couple of times and helped them out with that one."

One of the largest accomplishments of all for the Rebels was the way they were able to rush the football. The Rebels always seemed to be able to get the big play on the ground when they needed it thanks mostly to St. Cin's 147 yards on 18 carries and Pate's 60 on 13.

While the passing offense was not as effective as it has been Harrell still had an outstanding night hitting 7-of-11 passes. Caylon Conway was his favorite target pulling in four receptions for 36 yards.

The Rebels will need to hit on all cylinders as they face a tough Shelby squad. Kickoff will be 7:30 p.m. in Hayneville.