Photo: Sardis High’s Jay Owens (10) fends off an Albertville defender during the Lions’ 35-7 loss last Friday (Oct. 26) in Albertville. (Courtesy of Bentley Gray Photography)
By Shannon J. Allen/Sand Mountain Reporter
Jacob Dendy rushed 21 times for 203 yards and two touchdowns and Isaiah Pankey threw a pair of scoring passes to lead Class 6A Albertville to a 35-7 triumph over 5A Sardis last Friday (Oct. 26) at Aggie Stadium.
The Aggies (5-4) improved to 5-0 all-time against Sardis (3-6) by winning the first matchup in the series since 1965.
Albertville’s defense contributed a trio of crucial stops, forcing two turnovers inside its 10-yard line along with a goal-line stand.
The Aggies built a 21-0 halftime advantage.
Albertville marched 62 yards in seven plays on the game’s opening drive. Pankey lofted a 23-yard TD pass to Andrew Trammel, who made a nice over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone with 9:31 left in the first period.
Dendy rushed for the two-point conversion, running over a Sardis tackler at the goal line to make it 8-0.
Jason Rodriguez’s high kickoff bounced off the turf and into the arms of Albertville’s Brendan Merrell at the Sardis 25-yard line.
Jovany Lopez dashed 23 yards to the Lion 2, but tackles for loss by Tristen Holcomb on first-and-goal and Jacob Hopper and Tre Dalrymple on second-and-goal pushed AHS back to the 10.
On third-and-goal, Pankey rolled left and found Damion Douglas open in the end zone for a 10-yard TD pass with 7:33 remaining. The two-point conversion failed, but AHS led 14-0.
Sardis took the ensuing kickoff and rode the rushing of Drew Vaughn to a first down at the Aggie 16-yard line. Vaughn paced the Lions’ ground game, finishing with 132 yards on 23 carries.
Sardis quarterback Jay Owens’ seven-yard pass converted a fourth-and-two from the 8, but AHS linebacker Cade Boman stripped the ball to give the Aggies possession at the Sardis 1 with 2:57 to go. Albertville fumbled the ball away on the next snap, with Sardis’ Sean Wright recovering at the 1. But the Lions lost four yards on first-and-goal, threw an incompletion on second-and-goal and gained two yards on a third-and-goal running play. Owens’ fourth-down pass fell incomplete in the end zone at the 1:22 mark.
Albertville drove 77 yards in 12 plays for its second-quarter touchdown. All 12 plays were on the ground, including a trio of 10-yard carries by Douglas. Douglas barreled into the end zone for a touchdown on his third 10-yard run of the series, carrying the pile with him. Rodriguez’s extra point made it 21-0 with 3:34 remaining in the quarter.
Sardis drove from its 35 to a first-and-goal at the Aggie 6 with time expiring in the first half. The Lions dropped a touchdown pass during the drive.
Dendy intercepted a pass at the AHS 1 and returned it to the 7 with 14.5 seconds on the clock.
The Aggies’ first possession of the third quarter ended with a 29-yard loss after they snapped the ball over punter Ben Allen’s head.
Sardis took over at Albertville’s 14 and scored on Luke Morris’ 11-yard run with 7:03 left. Trey Salers’ extra point trimmed it to 21-7.
The Aggies responded with Dendy’s 46-yard touchdown sprint. Rodriguez’s conversion put AHS in front 28-7.
Dendy closed out the scoring with a 65-yard touchdown burst at the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Rodriguez added the point-after, making it 35-7.
Owens completed passes to Mason Golden, Hopper, Reece Lee and Brandon Noblitt on the last drive of the game. Lee’s 13-yard catch gave the Lions a first-and-goal at the 10, but Dendy picked off his second pass on the final play.
Owens was 7 for 22 in passing for 58 yards. Reece Lee had three receptions for 32 yards.
Defensively for Sardis, Michael Turner had nine tackles, followed by Luke Morris, Trent Presley, Brandon Noblett and Tristan Holcomb with five each.
Sardis closes out the season with Friday (Nov. 2) at home against Hokes Bluff, while Albertville hosts Guntersville.