Centreville outlasts Adams Christian for state championship

Published 12:03 am Saturday, November 22, 2014

Centreville Academy’s Chase Hughes runs through the arm tackle of Adams County Christian School’s Jordan Wells during a 5-yard touchdown run in the MAIS Class AA state championship game. Centreville won the game 35-21.   (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Centreville Academy’s Chase Hughes runs through the arm tackle of Adams County Christian School’s Jordan Wells during a 5-yard touchdown run in the MAIS Class AA state championship game. Centreville won the game 35-21. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

CLINTON — Since the final whistle of last season, the Centreville Academy Tigers had one thing on their mind, and that was getting back to the MAIS AA state championship game to avenge their loss to Simpson Academy.

And since week three of this season, the Adams County Christian School Rebels had their eyes on a possible rematch against Centreville, the only team to hand them a loss on the year.

Both had an opportunity to accomplish their goal Friday afternoon when they met for the MAIS AA state championship, but only one was able to accomplish it. Centreville Academy held on against ACCS taking a 35-21 win and the school’s ninth state championship under head coach Bill Hurst.

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“I just hate to see somebody lose in a ballgame like this,” Hurst said. “We knew somebody was going to lose before we started, and we were very fortunate to win.”

The defenses were on display early in the game, with both teams trying to find an identity offensively.

ACCS was able to get an interception from Tyler Stockstill on the first drive of the game and a fourth down stop at their own 16-yard line on the Tiger’s next possession to keep Centreville off the board in the first quarter.

The Rebel offense was able to strike first, late in the first quarter, with Torrey Smith rumbling in from a yard out to give the Rebels a 7-0 lead.

It was the only time the Rebels would lead in the game, and it wouldn’t last long, as Centreville drove down the field on the ensuing drive and tied the game on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Casey Haygood to Tyler Caston.

After an ACCS punt, Centreville went back to work, and eventually Chase Hughes would find the end zone from five yards out to put the Tigers in front 14-7, with just 2:30 left in the first half.

Hughes carried the load for Centreville on the ground, rushing 18 times for a team-high 93 yards.

But the 2:30 proved to be plenty of time for the Rebel offense.

After pushing the ball to the Centreville 14 yard line, quarterback Carlos Woods’ pass attempt was intercepted by Hughes at the one yard line, ending the half.

“It was just a good team making plays,” ACCS head coach David King said. “They are a good ball club, and they just made two or three more plays than we did. That is the way it is.”

Although the Rebels received the second half kickoff down just seven, the deficit quickly became 14.

ACCS decided to go for it on fourth down and fumbled on the play. Centreville recovered at the Rebels’ 25 yard line, and four plays later were in the end zone on a one yard touchdown run by Caston, pushing the lead to 21-7.

With momentum on their side, the Tigers continued to roll, and on their next drive Haygood hit Caston on a 53-yard deep pass, which he took into the end zone giving Centreville a 21-point lead.

But ACCS refused to go away.

Down three scores, King took to the air, and after working their way into Tiger territory, the ground game took over, culminating in a one yard touchdown run by Smith.

The two teams headed into the final quarter of play, with Centreville up 28-13, and it appeared the Tiger’s were en route to another score, but Lester Wells was able to force a fumble at the ACCS 15 yard line to stop the drive and give Rebels a glimmer of hope.

With the clock becoming a factor, King once again relied on the passing game, and Woods was able to come through with a 43-yard touchdown pass to George Scott, who snuck behind the Centreville defense to haul in the pass in the middle of the field.

After a successful two-point conversion, the Rebels were threatening, down just seven with 8:45 left to play.

But Centreville jumped into the double-wing offensive formation and began to control the clock, methodically moving down the field, all the way to the ACCS one yard line with just over two minutes left in the game.

Knowing they needed some sort of defensive stop, ACCS went for a turnover.

Britt Netterville, who came in at quarterback for the Tigers, took the snap at the one yard line and attempted to barrel his way into the end zone. But as he did, the ball came loose.

ACCS players scrambled to jump on the ball, but seconds later the officiating crew was signaling touchdown.

“My heart just about quit beating,” Hurst said. “I didn’t know that he had scored, but then I saw the official throw his hand up.”

With a two touchdown lead and not much time left, Centreville was able to hold off the Rebels’ final efforts and take the win.

“We fought great and we stayed in there,” Wells said. “We fought until the end and that is all you can ask for.”

With the loss, ACCS finished the year at 12-2, and despite not taking home the title, the Rebels laid the foundation for the program King hopes to establish at the school.

“I’m happy that we made it this far as a team,” senior running back Smith said. “It is a great stepping stone for this program, and there are better things to come.”