Interceptions spark Rebels to playoff win

Published 12:18 am Saturday, November 4, 2017


NATCHEZ — Adams County Christian School football players weren’t giving OK signs following Friday night’s win over Heritage Academy, yet everything seemed to be just in order.

When the Rebels lined up to shake hands, they were holding up three fingers as they dashed their way into the third round of the MAIS Class AAA playoffs, 42-20.

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“The kids were really hyped up,” ACCS coach David King said. “We were the better ball club tonight. We live for another week.”

Third-ranked ACCS began its commanding grasp of the game with a fourth-down 66-yard touchdown pass to Mj Thornburg from Jacob McDaniel midway through the first quarter.

“It was huge, and it set the momentum for the game,” McDaniel said. “We just took off.”

King agreed the spark is just what his team (11-1) needed.

“We wanted to jump out early, and we kind of got them out of their game plan,” he said.

After giving his team the lead — which it would not lose on the night —Thornburg wouldn’t stop his efforts there. The senior caught three of Heritage’s six interceptions on the night, returning one for a 38-yard touchdown.

Josh Day had two interceptions, while McDaniel caught the other.

“We work hard on our secondary, and we were able to get a few picks that were huge,” King said. “It was a great effort.”

With a keen eye on the ball, ACCS’ secondary wasn’t the only thing shining on defense.

Dawson Parker and DJ Stampley had seven tackles each, while Cris Thompson and McDaniel had six apiece.

Leading the Rebel offense, Julian Wilson rushed for two touchdowns on runs of 27 and 47 yards, ending with five carries for 129 yards. He shared the majority of the team’s 251 rushing yards with DyKevis Ford — who also scored on a 5-yard run — and Demarlon Lewis.

“When we get in the zone, it’s hard to stop us,” Wilson said. “It just comes from playing 12 games with each other. We have the momentum to do it.”

McDaniel found the end zone on a 6-yard run himself.

“They were a good team, I have to give it to them,” McDaniel said. “We just have to keep learning for our mistakes.”

Perhaps its biggest fault on the night, ACCS fumbled three times — losing all three.

The Rebels also had six penalties for 75 yards.

While King said he knows the miscues could cause problems going forward, he doesn’t want to harp on them.

“I usually get upset with mistakes, but it was all out of the intensity,” he said. “Mistakes happen.”

To repeat last year’s appearance in the state championship game, ACCS travels next week to face No. 2 seed Starkville Academy in the semifinals, and preparation starts immediately, King said.

“I feel really good about where we are,” he said. “Not many people walking the streets can say they are in the semifinals, so I’m very proud of this group but I’ll be working on a game plan in about 15 minutes.”