Rebel kickoff return turns game around

Published 10:34 pm Friday, August 11, 2023

NATCHEZ — Adams County Christian School had a sluggish start to the 2023 season on Friday, but a kickoff return in the second half helped the Rebels turn around the game.

ACCS beat Bowling Green 41-2 in a MAIS 5A season-opener.

The first half was uncharacteristic of a David King coached team, as one fan pointed out along the sidelines while the team had several penalties, missed tackles and a safety. 

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It took halftime adjustments, the Rebels working together and a big explosive play to open up the second half. 

“‘He’s gonna take it to the house,” yelled a player from AC’s sidelines as the football dropped into Adrian Walker’s hands on the kickoff. Walker turned to the right and broke for the corner before going down the sideline. He covered 75 yards in 11 seconds to return the second half kickoff for a touchdown. The score put AC up 14-2. 

“I wasn’t expecting it, but when we came out short in the first half I told my coaches if he kicks it to me I’m cribbing it,” Walker said. “I saw my team opened up the side, and if you give me the space I’m going to take it to the crib.” 

Waller said the play changed the momentum in the game. AC scored 34 unanswered points in the second half. 

“At first we made excuses, and we came out flat. It was hot,” Walker said. “I feel like the touchdown boosted our momentum and we came together as one. You can’t play well if you work together.”

Explosive Berry 

Senior Jordan Berry caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Coleman Carter to open the scoring. He was wide open on the touchdown pass and hauled it in with ease. Caleb Daugherty made the extra point to give AC a 7-0 lead with 1:06 left to play in the second quarter. 

He said Bowling Green’s safety’s alignment gave him the space he needed, and Carter made the perfect throw. 

Berry’s biggest play set up the second quarter touchdown as he marched the Rebels down the field inside the 10. He finished the night with 43 yards rushing and 65 yard receiving. Carter finished the night with 62 rushing yards and 107 passing yards to finish with 169 total yards. 

Early mistakes prove costly 

Both teams made plenty of mistakes in the first half. The biggest for AC was penalties. 

After two quarters of play, the Rebels had five penalties for 45 yards. Two of those came on a touchdown drive before Berry hauled in a 23-yard pass to put the Rebels up. 

Bowling Green’s challenges came in the form of a series of fumbles. Going into half the Buccaneers had five fumbles, losing two of them. One of those was recovered by Jordan Berry and the other by. 

AC had one costly mistake before halftime when a snap sailed past Coleman Carter out the back of the endzone for a safety. The bad snap cut AC’s lead to five at halftime. 

Bowling Green finished the game with four lost fumbles, six fumbles and two bad snaps. It helped the Rebels shift the momentum of the night. 

“It’s a big momentum shift,” Berry said. “We got the ball back and we put points on the board after the turnovers.” 

Jeremiah Clark, Josh Davis and Tate Walsworth recovered fumbles in the game. AC ended the game with 11 penalties for 95 yards. 

Explosive second half 

Walker made another big run when he went 30 yards to the three to set up a three yard rushing touchdown for teammate Sean Kerry Cothern. AC led 21-2 with 9:17 left in the third quarter. 

On the next series, Carter ran around on a bad snap and threw a perfect dart over the middle of the field to convert a 30 yard pass and first down. He would later punch the ball in from one yard out as AC went up 28-2. 

Walker scored the fifth touchdown on an eight yard rush to make it 35-2. CJ Ferguson scored the final touchdown on a five yard rush to make it 41-2. 

Walker finished the night with 57 yards rushing. 

Berry said the team really came together in the second half which helped with the scoring. 

“I believe we didn’t think they would come as hard as they did. We had to make some adjustments and learn to play together,” Berry said. “We had to fix it in the second half and we did. We have a lot of room to grow but with our coaches and mentality we will get there. As a senior, it’s sad but it feels good knowing it’s my last year. I know I have to give it my all.”

ACCS travels to play St. Aloysius on August 18th. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.