Blocked punt key in ACCS victory
NATCHEZ — Backed up in their own red zone with less than four minutes in the game, Cenla Christian Academy prepared to punt the ball back to Adams County Christian School.
Trailing just 21-20, Cenla was hoping to stop the Rebels’ offense, which had trouble moving the ball the second half, and get the ball back with a chance to win the game.
But ACCS’s Parker Rymer had other ideas, and when the ball was snapped, Rymer immediately rushed forward and blocked the punt for the Rebels, forcing the Lions to take a safety in the end zone with 3:20 left.
Cenla was then forced to kick to ACCS, and on the ensuing Rebels possession, ACCS managed to get three first downs to allow the clock to expire.
“We talked about it all week — we’re big on special teams,” King said of the blocked punt. “We wanted someone to make a play, and we noticed that punter was about five yards away when he punted it, and Parker Rymer is a smart football player and just found a way to make a play.”
Rymer said the Cenla offensive line didn’t account for him, allowing him to block the punt with no resistance.
“I saw a gap, so I just stood up and didn’t get down in a stance, and when he snapped it, I just took off and nobody touched me,” Rymer said. “I just jumped up as high as I could, and it hit me in the face.”
And with the play securing the win, Rymer said he was thrilled to step up big on Military Appreciation Night.
“It was huge,” Rymer said. “It was unreal for the momentum shift, and our offense picked up for us (afterward).”
ACCS led 21-6 at the half, but offensive struggles and a few miscues allowed Cenla to get within one midway through the fourth quarter. The Lions scored with 1:19 left in the third quarter on a 7-yard run by Reuben Armstrong. The Rebels had Armstrong stopped on the 6-yard line but couldn’t bring him down, and Armstrong made his way in on the second effort. Cenla failed to convert on the two-point conversion.
With less than nine minutes left in the fourth, ACCS had an untimely fumble on its own 7-yard line that the Lions recovered. After Cenla was backed up on a 5-yard penalty, Kamron Sykes scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Darrius Mason with 8:44 left. The Lions scored on the 2-point conversion when Logan Bryan caught the pass from Mason, and the score was 21-20.
ACCS went up 7-0 with 9:20 left in the first when Tyler Stockstill caught a 10-yard pass from Trey Fleming. The Rebels scored again with 1:44 left in the second on a 7-yard carry by Lester Well.s
With 7:54 left in the second quarter, ACCS went up 21-0 when Fleming caught a 65-yard pass from Stockstill. Cenla finally got on the board with 3:03 left before the half when Mason connected with Sykes on a 70-yard touchdown pass.
ACCS was only 2-for-9 in passing with 75 yards, and the Rebels only attempted one pass in the second half. Torrey Smith led the Rebels in rushing with 109 yards on 18 carries, and Wells added 64 on 15 carries. Fleming, who had only 4 yards rushing to go along with his 65-yard scoring reception, sustained a collar bone injury in the second quarter and didn’t return in the second half.
On defense, Matthew Rymer, who finished with 11 tackles and a sack, led ACCS. Brandon Ross tallied eight tackles, one assist, one pass deflection and one interception. Zach Young had five tackles and one interception.
Even though he would like to see his team improve, King said he was proud with his players for finding a way to win after letting Cenla come back within one point.
“We found a way at the end to make a punt block and make three first downs when we needed them the most,” King said. “I think we grew up tonight. It wasn’t pretty, we had some offensive woes, but to find a way to win against an athletic bunch like that, I’ll certainly take it.”
ACCS (4-1) will host Prentiss Christian School Friday.