Pirates sink Sardis

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By Ricky Smith/Sand Mountain Reporter

For the third consecutive year, the Boaz-Sardis High football matchup came down to the last minute before it was decided.

On Friday (Oct. 31), Matthew Smith scored on a 6-yard scramble with 41 seconds left to lift Boaz to a 12-7 win over the Lions in Sardis City.

The Boaz victory also marked the third straight year the visiting team had won the game. Two years ago, Boaz kicked a field goal as time expired for a 38-35 triumph. Last season, Sardis won 17-14 on a field goal on the game’s last play.

Sardis dropped to 5-5 and will travel in the first round of the state playoffs to Oneonta.

Smith’s game-winning touchdown capped a five-play, 51-yard drive after the Pirates forced a Sardis punt with 1:48 left in the game.

It looked like the Pirates had blown their golden opportunity to win, turning the ball over on downs after driving to the Sardis 3-yard line with 2:50 to go.

Smith appeared to score the go-ahead touchdown with 3:18 left, but a 4-yard touchdown run was nullified by an illegal blocking penalty.

On fourth-and-goal from the 12, Boaz sent in the field goal team but faked it. Trey Willoughby threw a throwback pass to Smith, who was stopped at the 5.

After a 15-yard penalty against Boaz, Sardis took over at its 20. Sardis only gained 2 yards in the series and Boaz used two timeouts during the possession before forcing a punt.

Boaz took over at its 49 but was penalized 5 yards on first down.

Smith completed two passes of 25 yards to Wesley Burns, the second to the Sardis 6, from where Smith scored the touchdown. The two-point conversion pass failed and Boaz led 12-7.

Keenan Lewis returned the ensuing kickoff to the Lion 40. After a false start penalty moved the ball back to the 35, quarterback Logan Gaskin threw downfield on first down and was intercepted by Gage Cash to preserve the Pirate win.

Boaz finished with 314 total yards to the Lions’ 175.

The teams had problems getting their offenses in gear in the first half.

Sardis scored its only touchdown in the first half after taking over at its 44 following a short Boaz punt.

Lewis and Jesse Hubbard had runs of 3, 5 and 4 yards to pick up a first down to the Boaz 44.

After a 2-yard run by Hubbard, Austin Hallmark got behind the Pirate secondary and Gaskin hit him in stride for a 42-yard touchdown pass. Sawyer Cahela kicked the point-after for a 7-0 lead with 8:30 left in the second quarter.

Boaz began its first scoring drive midway through the third quarter at the Sardis 42 after stopping Hubbard on a fourth-and-two run.

Clay Culbert ran for 8 yards on first down, and then Smith picked up a first down with a 12-yard run to the 22.

Culbert then scampered for 18 to the 4. Boaz lost a yard on the next three plays, and on fourth-and-goal, Smith threw to Taylor Camper for a 5-yard touchdown pass with 4:11 left in the third quarter. The two-point pass failed, and Sardis held a 7-6 lead.

Lewis rushed for 86 yards on 19 carries.

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