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First run sets tone: Cathedral goes 91 yards while ACCS watches

Cathedral’s Khalil Brice runs down the field after evading the tackle from Adams County Christian School’s Cody Rhinehart Friday night during the Green Wave’s 42-13 home win over the Rebels. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Whatever first game jitters the Cathedral High School players may have had, it left quickly with one big play by Ishmael Blackmon.

After Adams County Christian School elected to defer to the second half, Blackmon fielded the opening kickoff from the Cathedral 9-yard line — then took it 91 yards for a quick touchdown.

The play set the tone for the rest of the game as the Green Wave ran away with a 42-13 win against ACCS.

“It was big,” Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing said. “It kind of took the edge off of everything and got the nervousness out. That was huge.”

ACCS head coach David King said the first play had the opposite effect on his team and quickly put the pressure on the Rebels to respond.

“We talked all week long about not kicking the ball to Ishmael Blackmon, and the first thing we do, we kick it to him,” King said.

“That’s just the sign of a team that’s not used to winning. We made about every mistake you could possibly make, but we didn’t quit. It’s something to build upon.”

Despite any talk about Cathedral becoming more run-oriented this season, the Green Wave continued its tradition of putting up big numbers in the passing game. After his first pass attempt fell incomplete, rookie Cathedral quarterback Thomas Garrity hit Kyle Bradley for a 16-yard touchdown pass at the 7:35 mark in the first.

Garrity continued to make big plays in the first, connecting with Parker Rymer for a 37-yard touchdown pass with 21 seconds left in the period.

Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing directs his offense during the second half of Friday night’s game against the Rebels. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

On the ensuing kickoff, ACCS’s Lester Wells over pursued the football after it bounced in front of him, and Cathedral’s R.J. Givens recovered the ball on Cathedral’s own 19-yard line. The Green Wave made it 28-0 when Garrity sent another touchdown pass Rymer’s way for 19 yards.

ACCS scored its first touchdown with 9:48 left in the second on a 13-yard reception by Wells from quarterback Trey Fleming.

On the ensuing Cathedral possession, running back Khalil Brice took a quick toss from Garrity 73 yards to put Cathedral up 35-7 at the 9:48 mark.

In the third quarter, ACCS scored its final touchdown on a 1-yard run by Wells but failed on the two-point conversion.

Cathedral added one more touchdown at the 5:07 mark in the third when it pulled off the Statue of Liberty play of Boise State fame from the 2007 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma. Garrity pump faked to his left, then handed the ball off behind his back to Blackmon, who ran 65 yards down the right sideline.

Garrity finished 8-for-11 with 221 yards and four touchdowns. Brice led the Green Wave in rushing with 75 yards on 15 carries.

ACCS used a split-quarterback system, with Brandon Ross finishing 3-for-11 with 9 yards passing, while Fleming was 4-for-9 with one interception, 40 yards passing and one touchdown. Fleming also tallied 110 yards rushing.

ACCS (0-1) will host Hillcrest Christian School next Friday, while Cathedral (1-0) has an open date.