AC grinds it out in second half to edge Saints

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Luke Ogden has a bruised sternum, but he’s going to be OK.

As for the rest of the Adams Christian Rebels, they’re a little more confident now.

Ogden missed most of the first half and played sparingly in the second, but the Rebels regrouped a bit and took a 15-12 win over Trinity Episcopal Saturday at the ACCS Jamboree in a highly anticipated matchup.

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Ogden and the Rebels’ offense played ball control the second half by keeping the Saints to just three plays &045; two of which were turnovers.

&uot;One thing we’ve got to learn &045; when Luke went out, we had a big letdown,&uot; AC head coach Keith Walters said. &uot;We’ve dedicated this season to (former coach) Kramer (Fife), and team is our big thing this year. If Luke can’t go, it doesn’t mean we’ll fold up. I probably shouldn’t have played Luke the second half, but he’s such a competitor.&uot;

Ogden, quarterback Dustin Case and running back David Barnes had some key runs for the Rebels, who had just one play for a loss after being thrown for a loss on all but two in the first half.

The Rebels ran the ball up the gut more in the second half, chewed the clock and kept it out of Trinity’s hands almost the entire second half.

&uot;We had to do something to get back at them,&uot; said Case, who had 10 carries, one more than Ogden. &uot;We found the holes and got after them. They’ve got a quick defense, and we couldn’t seem to get outside. We took it up the middle where the holes were. The line did well the second half, and we came out with a little more intensity.&uot;

The Saints had two big turnovers the second half, but the Rebels’ ability to control the ball the second half was the biggest key. After Hunter Halford recovered a Trinity fumble, the Rebels drove 54 yards on 13 plays over almost seven minutes to set up Ogden’s 3-yard touchdown run with 2:24 left.

The score put the Rebels up 13-12, and Cole Bradford took a pitch, fumbled it and recovered it in the end zone for the two-point conversion and the three-point lead.

&uot;That’s what jamborees are about &045; you have a lot of mistakes,&uot; Trinity head coach David King said. &uot;We fought hard, but we made some mistakes and made some mental errors. Keith has got a good ball club, one of the better ones I’ve seen. They’ve got a triple-A ball club with a great running back, and I think he is pleased with what he saw from his group.&uot;

The score turned the momentum around big time, but the Saints still had life and the potential to move the ball quickly down the field. But on the first play Ryan Rachal rolled out and heaved a pass downfield, but Bradford got under, bobbled it and came up with the interception to give the Rebels the ball with 2:16 left at their own 36.

&uot;He was actually in the right place,&uot; Walters said. &uot;We’re real young back there and inexperienced, but for as well as Trinity throws the ball, we did OK. We didn’t stop the run at all. You’ve got to give Trinity credit for the way they ran the football. They’ve got a fine, fine football team.&uot;

The Saints got on the board first and controlled the first half almost entirely. They moved the ball 70 yards on seven plays on their opening drive and scored when Rachal

hit Dudley Guice Jr. on a screen pass that Guice took 29 yards for a touchdown.

On their next drive Rachal hit Nason Stephens for a 37-yard pass, while key runs from Chase Brown and Gregory Ketchings kep the chains moving. Gregory Ketchings finished the six-play, 70-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown for a 12-7 lead with 5:58 left.

The Rebels scored on their first play of the game when Case faked a handoff to Ogden and hit a wide-open Ray Simpson for a 75-yard touchdown pass to take a 7-6 lead with 8:40 left in the first.

Ogden had a 47-yard run on his first touch, but on his second he came down on top of the ball with his chest and came out with a bruised sternum. He sat out the rest of the first half, and the Rebels didn’t have a play for positive yards until halftime.

&uot;I think it’s going to be sore, but I’ll get over it,&uot; Ogden said.