Rewriting history: ACCS advances to third round for first time since 1982
Published 12:49 am Saturday, November 8, 2014
From the opening kickoff to the final whistle, the Adams County Christian School Rebels and Silliman Institute Wildcats traded blows.
But it was the Rebels who got the final lick, edging Silliman 14-8 to advance to the MAIS Class AA State Semifinals.
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“I’ve been in 40 playoff games or so, six state championship games, but I’ve never been involved in one like that,” ACCS head coach David King said. “I want this so bad for my alma mater. I want them to have those feelings that all kids deserve. We willed ourselves in that game.”
ACCS appeared to have grabbed control early when Lester Wells broke off a 65-yard touchdown run, but the play was called back after an illegal formation penalty was called on the Rebels.
The defenses took over from there, with both teams forcing turnovers and laying down some crushing tackles.
Silliman was on the move late in the second quarter, but a Trey Fleming interception deep in Rebel territory killed a drive that was moving with pace.
But the Rebels were unable to capitalize, fumbling two plays later, their third turnover of the first half.
“We didn’t play our best football,” King said. “We had so many turnovers and breakdowns. Coming into the game, I knew that was going to be one of the best defenses we were going to play, right up there with Centreville.”
But the Rebel defense wasn’t having any of that.
After forcing another three and out, ACCS was able to light up the scoreboard for the first time in the game.
Torrey Smith plunged into the end zone from one-yard out to give ACCS an 8-0 lead. The play was set up by a 79-yard pass from quarterback Carlos Woods to Fleming on the previous play.
ACCS scored again as time expired in the first half, with Woods finding Parker Rymer from 33 yards out, but for the second time in the game, a Rebel touchdown was called back for a penalty.
“In a game like this, the emotions are high,” King said. “We were intense, sloppy. I was just pleased we stayed in there toe-to-toe with them. After that second touchdown got called back, that takes a lot out of high school kids. We had to scratch and claw back.”
The teams entered the half with ACCS clinging to an 8-0 lead.
Silliman came out of the break and methodically pounded the Rebel’s on the ground en route to a 14-play touchdown drive that ate up more than half of the third quarter clock.
The score pulled the Wildcats within two, after they failed on the two point conversion try.
At 8-6, King and his team knew it would come down to who wanted it more in the final quarter of play, and it was the Rebels, and Torrey Smith proved it.
With just over two minutes left to play, Smith broke off a highlight reel 37-yard touchdown run to push the ACCS lead to 14-6.
“It just started with us running the ball all night,” Smith said. “We tired them out, and it was an excellent play call by the coaches. The line did it, they made the hole for me. And like coach King says, athletes in space make plays.”
It was an emotional night for Smith, who lost his aunt earlier in the week. Smith said she was a big motivation for him during the game.
“It has been on my mind the whole week,” he said. “(Friday) I went and saw her at the wake, and I just thought of her all day. She had been wanting to come and see me play all year, but she couldn’t. When she passed, I knew she was watching over me.”
Down just eight, Silliman wasn’t backing off, though. The Wildcats drove down the field, all the way to the ACCS 10 yard line, with 1:28 left to play.
Then, Sam Butler made a game-saving play, intercepting Silliman quarterback Zach Kelly at the Rebels’ 2- yard line with 1:15 left in the game.
“I just did what I was taught to do, and went out there and made a play,” Butler said. “I would definitely say it was the biggest play of my career.”
ACCS was then tasked with running out the clock, but Silliman didn’t make it as easy as it sounded.
The Wildcats were able to push the Rebels back and force a safety with 27 seconds left in the game, and pull within six points.
On the ensuing drive, after moving the ball to the 50-yard line, Kelly was intercepted again, this time by George Scott, to seal the Rebel victory.
ACCS forced four turnovers on the night, and King said it was one of the best performances he’s had from his defense while at ACCS.
“I think our defense got tired of hearing how good their defense was,” King said. “I told our boys we weren’t going to score 28 points on that team, we had to have a shutout. And we almost gave them one. This was one of the best defensive performances we’ve had since coach Spears and I have been here.”
The Rebels were able to hold Silliman to just 100 yards rushing and 101 yards through the air, despite being without starting linebacker Chisum Mardis, who was out with a leg injury.
Smith led the way on offense finishing with 72 yards on 12 carries. Wells added 37 yards and Fleming racked up 62.
“It is amazing,” said Smith of the victory. “I really can’t even put it into words.”