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Hayles, team make mom proud

NATCHEZ — Coach Paul Hayles honored his mother’s memory the best way he knew how Friday night.

And so did his team.

Jeanette Marie Hayles, an avid football fan, died Wednesday after battling illness. Her family said final farewells at a Friday morning funeral. And Paul Hayles headed to the football field Friday night, saying he knew its where his mother would want him.

“A lot of people were surprised I was there,” Hayles said. “It was standing room only. The way they’ve loved and supported me, words cannot describe it. I’m proud of the coaching staff for putting up with this. Tonight (the players) were back to a familiar voice and they responded to it.”

Hayles’ Rebels gave their coach just what he needed after a tough week.

Hillcrest Christian School tried its best early on to put a damper on the game, but ACCS was not going to be denied a win for its leader as the Rebels scored 20 straight points and got huge contributions from the running game and the defense in a 28-14 win over the Cougars.

Hayles was absent for ACCS’s 53-50 win over CENLA Christian in its season opener last Friday night due to his mother’s ailing health.

Things didn’t look good for the Rebels early on as they fumbled the ball and Hillcrest’s Anthony Brooks picked the ball and scampered 23 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was good and the Cougars led 7-0. That would be there only lead of the game.

Rusty Blackwell scored two touchdowns in the second quarter on runs of six and eight yards with Duncan Guedon adding the two-point conversion run after Blackwell’s first score to give ACCS a 14-7 halftime lead.

“For them to come out and fight through the adversity early in the game, it was a tremendous effort,” Hayles said.

Christopher Perry made it 20-7 in favor of the Rebels when he scored on a two-yard run late in the third quarter. But with under a minute to go in that same quarter, Hillcrest got back in the game on Kevin Nunn’s 43-yard touchdown run. The point after was good and at the end of the quarter, ACCS’s lead was just six points.

Until the fourth quarter, the Cougars did a pretty good job of holding ACCS senior running back Brandon Sanders. He had been held under 100 yards after three quarters of play, but he busted loose on a 76-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and added the two-point conversion run to put the game out of reach.

“Brandon went out in the first quarter with a breathing problem. He came back in the second half and ran the ball well,” Hayles said. “Rusty Blackwell and Christopher Perry really stepped up and put their stamp on the game.”

Sanders finished with 169 yards rushing on 17 carries to go with three kick returns for 67 yards while Blackwell ran 20 times for 101 yards and Perry added 12 carries for 58 yards. Defensively, Cory Emanuel intercepted two passes and Daniel Guedon had one interception. Guedon had an all-around good game as he had one catch for 28 yards and had three punt returns for a total of 50 yards.

ACCS (2-0) travels to Liberty to take on Amite School Center next Friday with a 7 p.m. kickoff.

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