The Montgomery Academy players feel a little better about their football season after a close 33-30 win over region foe Southside-Selma. The Eagles knew it was a game they had to win. “We feel better after the last two weeks. This was a big win for us over a tough opponent,” senior Mac Main said.

The Eagles’ pride was badly bruised after Trinity defeated them. Last week the Eagles dodged a bullet in Dadeville after a very dismal offensive performance. “Our offense worked hard this week in practice. They wanted and needed a big game and they got one,” MA lineman MacLeod Parker said.

There was no doubt that MA came out of the locker room loaded and ready to atone for the last couple of performances. On the first play from scrimmage Jon Clarke Woodward ran a few steps to the west and then cut back to the north. The MA senior hit the end zone 62 yards later and was never touched during the journey.

The fireworks continued for MA. Main intercepted a Panther’s pass on their first offensive snap of the game, which enabled the Eagles to begin their second possession before a full minute elapsed from the clock. Jamal Cooper zipped into the end zone five plays later at 10:19 in the first quarter to increase the Eagles lead to 14-0.

Southside would get on the board after using freshman running back KeAndre Williams on numerous occasions. The unusually large Williams was very hard to bring down and would continue to batter the Eagles until late in the third quarter. “Yeah, he is a great running back. He just kept running over us. We swarmed him and our linebackers made it possible to stop him when we did,” Parker said. “He looked to get tired later on. As their drives got longer he would slow down. I think that is one reason they threw the ball so much later in the game.”

MA chewed up almost half of the second quarter with a 14 play drive. The Eagles couldn’t get inside the end zone and settled for an Alex Kohn 22 yard field goal to make the score 17-6 at the half.

Williams scored for Southside early in the third quarter to put the Panthers within three points. Both defenses stiffened for the balance of the third quarter.

The Eagles extended their lead with a 52 yard halfback pass from Cooper to quarterback Britton Kohn at 9:20 in the fourth quarter. Kohn threw to Jack Anzalone for the 2-point conversion and it looked like the Eagles were safe with a 25-14 lead.

But Southside would simply not go way. On its first play after the Eagles kickoff, Chris Thomas connected with Dante Richardson for a 70 touchdown pass. The Panthers 2-point conversion was good and, once again, they trailed the Eagles by only three points.

William Robertson caught two passes on the ensuing drive to go along with Cooper’s four carries that put MA near the goal line. Kohn completed the drive with a short run to score his second touchdown of the night. Eric Doh collected the 2-point conversion and the Eagles lead by 11 points with 5:27 remaining.

And Southside would still hang around. The Panthers scored with less than a minute to go to wrap things up at 33-30. “They wouldn’t go away. We gave them some opportunities to hang around. We helped by giving them some additional chances,” MA coach Gary Nelson said. “When you play teams that are very athletic you got to execute to get rid of them. We didn’t always do that late in the game.”

Nelson said he wasn’t surprise to see the Panthers throw so much even when their ground game was effective. “I wasn’t surprised to see them throw that well. I watched the films and they were impressive when they did. It seemed like they were converting to first downs in long and difficult situations with the passing game.”

“We were worried about their quarterback running around so we didn’t pressure him as much. He was able to plant his feet and throw the ball,” Parker explained.

“We played a lot of man to man coverage. We knew they would make big plays. They are very athletic and we missed a few calls which helped them,” Main said.

Kohn was 6 for 12 and 94 yards in the passing department. The MA signal caller carried 13 times for 79 yards. Cooper had 14 carries for 87 yards. Woodward added 4 carries for 66 yards. Robertson had 3 catches for 53 yards and led MA defensively with 13 tackles. Hilsman James added 8 tackles, while Judson Lindsey, Jackson Kelly, and Parker each had 6 tackles.

MA improves to 5-3 and 4-1 in region play. Next week MA will face Pike Road at its new stadium. “Pike Road is probably the biggest and the fastest team we will face all year. They got seniors for the first time and players with experience,” Nelson said. “I think they have really developed a great program and their coaches have been done a great job. They are undefeated and we will need to be at our very best to pick up a win.”