Landers leads ACA to key region win over Dale County

ACA tailback Corey Landers is shoved out of bounds by a Dale County defender in the first half of Friday's game. 

The Alabama Christian Academy Eagles defeated Dale County 48-13 in a key region game at Wade Black Norton Field on Friday night.

The Eagles’ victory, coupled with St. James’ win over Straughn, left ACA, Dale County and Straughn all tied for second place at 2-1 in 4A Region 2 play, a game behind St. James. The top two teams in each region host a first-round playoff game in November and the head-to-head victory by ACA gives them the tiebreaker over Dale County should the two teams finish tied in the standings at the end of region play.

Eagles head coach Michael Summers knows the importance of this new “rivalry game,” and how it can shape the regional postseason moving forward.

“Dale County is always a big game for us, and it has really become a rivalry,” said Summers. “We’ve played them six years in a row, and most of the time the winner of our game is going to end up hosting a playoff game.”

Junior quarterback Hayes Hunt completed 9 out of 14 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns for the Eagles.

Junior running back and linebacker Corey Landers had 60 yards and a touchdown off of 15 carries, as well as two catches for 46 yards and a touchdown. Landers also recorded an interception.

Junior wide receiver and defensive back Preston Hicks had four catches for 47 yards and a touchdown along with an interception.

The Eagles were in control of the game from kickoff, and played a very physical game to beat the Warriors. Summers was proud of the physical toughness his team showed to help them win the game in the trenches.

“All of our guys played hard and they outplayed (Dale County) from the first snap, all the way out,” said Summers. “I feel like our guys played a lot harder than the Dale County players did tonight.”

The Eagles got on the board early in the first quarter after a 41-yard pass from Hunt to Landers to take the lead, 7-0.

On their next possession, the Eagles drove down the field and scored again on a two-yard touchdown run by Landers to stretch their lead to 14-0.

Landers then scored his third touchdown of the game while on the Eagles’ special teams early in the second quarter when he returned a Warriors punt 43 yards for a touchdown to take a 21-0 lead for the Eagles.

Senior wide receiver Thomas Stovall caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from Hunt about midway through the second quarter for a 28-0 lead. Hicks caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Hunt with less than a minute to go in the first half to make it 35-0.

Junior running back and linebacker Otasowie Dion scored on a run from two yards out to give the Eagles a 42-0 lead late in the third quarter.

Freshman running back and defensive back A.C. Walters ran in a 23-yard touchdown with under four minutes remaining in the game to give the Eagles their largest lead of the game at 48-0.

Shortly thereafter, the Warriors got on the board with a 75-yard kickoff return to bring the score to 48-7. The Warriors would again score with less than a minute remaining in the game to bring the final score to 48-13 after a missed extra-point.

ACA (2-1) is idle next week before resuming region play at Ashford on Oct. 1. Dale County (2-1) travels to Headland for a non-region game next week before hosting Bullock County and St. James in consecutive weeks.