ACCS travles to Copiah Academy with state title berth at stake

Published 2:09 pm Thursday, November 9, 2023

NATCHEZ — A berth in the 2023 MAIS Class 5A State Championship Game will be on the line Friday night when the No. 10 seed Adams County Christian School Rebels travel to Gallman to take on the No. 3 seed Copiah Academy Colonels.

Kickoff between ACCS (10-3) and Copiah Academy (9-2) is scheduled for 7 p.m. Last Friday night, the Rebels rallied from a 28-21 deficit to upset the No. 2 seed and District 3-5A rival Parklane Academy Pioneers on the road 41-34 while the Colonels defeated No. 6 seed Lamar School 28-21 at home.

Even though technically ACCS upset Parklane because of where each team was seeded, Rebels assistant coach Matthew Freeman didn’t see it that way at all.

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“First of all, we don’t feel like it was an upset. They beat us by two points at our place earlier in the season. We executed our game plan and we took care of business this time around,” Freeman said.

He added, “Copiah’s got a really good team, also. But we match up real good with them. The weather is going to be a factor. It looks like it’s going to rain, so both teams will have to take care of the football. Both teams are going to rely heavily on their offensive lines.”

As for what it will take for the Rebels to pull off a third straight road upset win, this time against a good Copiah Academy team, Freeman said, “They’ve got a player named Jamarius Grayer (junior wide receiver/defensive back). He’s their most electric player. We’ve got to stop him or slow him down. If we don’t, it’s going to be a long night for us.”

Even though ACCS racked up 19 first downs and 371 yards of total offense last week at Parklane, the one thing the Rebels need to clean up is the penalties. They were flagged 11 times for 80 yards while the Pioneers were penalized just four times for 30 yards.

The Rebels will need yet another sterling performance from junior quarterback/defensive back Coleman Carter. He threw for 116 yards on 11-for-18 passing with one touchdown, ran for 113 yards on 21 carries with three touchdowns, and had the game-clinching interception on the final play of the game.

Junior running back Adrian Walker had himself an outstanding game on both sides of the ball. He led the Rebels’ ground game with 139 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries and had a remarkable 90-yard interception return for a touchdown just past the midway point of the third quarter that gave ACCS its first lead since late in the first quarter, 35-28.

As for what the Rebels will be working on in practice this week to get ready for the Colonels, Freeman said, “Just fine-tuning everything. Everyone is doing the same thing now at this time of year. We’re just trying to sharpen up everything we’re doing. We are who we are. We’re going to play our style of game and see what happens.”

Freeman noted that the Colonels have a really fast defensive line and some really good linebackers and that what concerns him most about Copiah Academy’s defense. “They’re going to fly around to the football,” he added.
As to what concerns him most about their offense, Freeman said, “Offensively, Grayer can score from anywhere. He’s that fast. We’re going to try to bottle him up and make the tackle.”

For that reason, Freeman said the defense will have to have a big game for ACCS to get past Copiah Academy and play for the state title at Jackson Academy next Thursday at 7 p.m. at Jackson Academy against the winner of the No. 4 seed Simpson Academy at No. 1 seed Starkville Academy game.

“I think our defense is going to dictate this game. We’re going to have some linebackers and safeties and corners who are going to be challenged. We’re going to have to execute our game plan. It’s all going to boil down to can we stop the run,” Freeman said.