Photo: Coosa Christian’s Jy Mostella (23) runs into Pickens County’s Na’Jee Barnes during the Conquerors’ 44-40 loss in the Class 1A state football semifinals on November 25 in Reform. (Courtesy of Average Joe’s Sports Talk)
The Coosa Christian football team’s quest for the program’s first-ever AHSAA state championship berth came up eight seconds short on November 25 in Reform.
Playing Pickens County in the state semifinals, the Conquerors looked to have stamped their ticket to this week’s Super Seven after Jadan Burn’s 37-yard field goal provided Coosa with a 40-38 lead with 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
But the Tornadoes quickly moved the ball to the Conqueror 21-yard line, and quarterback Demarkis Giles connected with a leaping Kemaurion Plott above the goal line with no time left on the game clock.
The officials ruled that the ball crossed the goal line just before Plott was driven back several yards by Coosa linebacker Clete O’Bryant, giving Pickens County (11-3) a 44-40 victory and a championship game matchup against Leroy this Thursday at Auburn and ending the Conquerors’ season at 9-5.
“It was a bad ending all the way around, but here’s the good thing – we’re going to be two or three touchdowns better next year,” said Coosa Christian head coach Mark O’Bryant. “This is a young football team that’s only going to get better, and we should win this thing next year if we do what we need to do.”
Coosa maintained the lead for the majority of the game until Santonio Jones’ touchdown run and Korbit Sommerville’s two-point conversion run made it 38-37 in favor of the Tornadoes at the 3:08 mark of the fourth quarter.
O’Bryant finished with 13 tackles, followed by Eli Motes with nine, Drake Dupree with eight, Dalton McGraw with seven, Grayson Malone and Thomas Skaggs with six each and Jacoby Tucker and Kaeden Hill with five each.
Tucker and Motes each had an interception, with Motes returning his pick for a touchdown. The Coosa defense twice held on fourth down conversion attempts.
“Did we make mistakes tonight? We sure did, but our kids played with passion, determination and heart, and I couldn’t ask anything more out of them,” said Mark O’Bryant. “The Lord didn’t have it in the cards for us to win tonight. But we’ve got to swallow that and be okay with it. It’s not our time yet, but it’s coming. Adversity can be a beautiful thing if you can grow from it.”