Sardis falls short at Arab

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Photo courtesy of Bentley Gray Photography

Courtesy of Arab Tribune

Last season, Arab steamrolled Sardis 42-0 on the way to the Class 5A, Region 7 championship. Last Friday, the Lions pushed the host Knights to the brink of an upset before a late touchdown lifted Arab to a 29-26 victory.
Sardis slipped to 2-1 overall as it lost its Region 7 opener. Arab improved to 4-0, 2-0.
It appeared the Lions had gotten to the Arab 4-yard line late in the game when a penalty brought the play back to where the Arab defense was able to stall the effort.
Things looked easy enough for the hosts when Arab took the opening drive 65 yards to score in six plays, with Logan Alldredge scoring on a 2-yard run after quarterback Drew Puccio and Landon Strickland connected on a 33-yard pass play to the 8.
Aiden Wooten hit the first of three extra points to give Arab a quick 7-0 lead with 9:26 to go in the first.
Sardis hit the scoreboard on a long 95-yard drive of only six plays, with quarterback Brian Chapman hitting Carson Gillilan on a 10-yard touchdown pass with 8:12 to go in the first half on a third-and-goal play. The score was set up by a Chapman-to-Landon Carroll 77-yard pass play to the Arab 2-yard line.
The following Lion next drive was halted by Wyatt Lamar’s interception, but Sardis cashed in on its next opportunity when Chapman hit Gillilan on a 12-yard scoring play and then completed a pass to Eli Morton for two points to make it14-7 for the Lions with 23 seconds left in the half.
After forcing Sardis to punt on the opening drive of the third quarter, Arab marched 76 yards in 11 plays, with Silva scoring from a yard out.
The Lions answered with a 71-yard drive of nine plays, with Chapman hitting Gavin Quisenberry on a 5-yard touchdown pass.
The Knights came right back, driving 65 yards in 11 plays, with Silva scoring on a 28-yard run. Wooten’s foot gave Arab a 21-20 lead with 11:52 to go in the game.
Sardis didn’t let off the gas, either, as Chapman’s arm and a pass interference call allowed Blaze Gerhart to score on a 10-yard run with 10:04 to go giving Sardis a 26-21 lead.
Lamar gave the Knights a big boost with a 38-yard kickoff return to the Lions’ 40, where Silva took over, carrying the ball nine straight times and scoring on a 3-yard run, then going in for the 2-point conversion to make it 29-26.
Gerhart had runs of 34 and 3 yards to give Sardis the ball at the Knight 28, and a penalty put the ball on the 23. Chapman then hit Morton at the 4-yard line, but the play was called back on an illegal shift.
Chapman’s final pass attempt fell incomplete, and the Knights ran the clock out to secure the win.
Sardis outgained Arab 432 to 368. The Lions had a balanced attack, with 146 yards rushing on 22 carries. Chapman completed 14 of 23 passes for 286 yards. Gerhart finished with 156 rushing yards on 23 carries.
Sardis travels to Huntsville on Friday, Sept. 22 for a non-region game against Columbia.

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