By James Beasley
The Copiah Academy Colonels exploded for 27 points in the first quarter and went on to whip the Leake Academy Rebels 37-14 in Madden last Friday night. The victory on a rain-soaked field was CA’s third consecutive win and improved the team’s record to 5-3 on the season, including 1-1 in district play.
The Colonels wasted little time as they took the opening kickoff and scored on Kelton Smith’s 81-yard scamper on the second play from scrimmage. Hunter Renfroe kicked the PAT, and CA led 7-0 before some spectators had settled into their seats.
Copiah’s second possession resulted in quarterback Ben Boone’s 52-yard touchdown pass to fellow senior Brandon Smith. Boone then connected with Renfroe for the two-point conversion and a 15-0 lead with over eight minutes remaining in the opening period.
CA scored on its third straight possession as Kelton Smith found his way into the end zone from 6 yards out with just under five minutes remaining. The sophomore running back also scored on a 78-yard run with under a minute left in the period to give the Colonels a 27-0 lead. Neither two-point conversion attempt was good.
Leake finally got on the scoreboard in the second quarter when quarterback Grant Wilson connected with Jake Wall on a 26-yard TD pass following a drive that was highlighted by a 15-yard pass completion to Caleb Burns and a pair of 16-yard runs by Wilson. Dylan Alford kicked the PAT as the Rebels cut the deficit to 27-7 by halftime.
The teams traded punts early in the third quarter, with the Colonels getting the better of it thanks to Bryce Guess’s 53-yard boot. With 8:15 remaining in the period, Boone intercepted a pass at the Leake 44-yard line, which eventually resulted in Hunter Renfroe’s 27-yard field goal and a 30-7 lead.
Leake’s Caleb Burns ran the ensuing kickoff back 33 yards to midfield, where Adam Pitts made a TD-saving tackle. The Rebels weren’t to be denied, however, as they drove 52 yards for their final touchdown early in the fourth period. Key plays on the drive included Wilson’s 14-yard run, a 20-yard pass from Wilson to Austin Shepard, and Wilson’s 3-yard TD toss to Wall. Alford added the PAT, and Leake trailed 30-14 with over 11 minutes left in the contest.
The Rebels tried a pooch kick on the ensuing kickoff, but CA’s Bryce Guess spoiled the plan as he gathered it in at midfield and raced 35 yards to the Leake fifteen. From there, the Colonels punched it in from the three, with Kelton Smith scoring his fourth TD of the game. Renfroe kicked the PAT, and the Copiah backups finished the rest of the game.
The Colonels dominated all phases of the contest as they totaled 380 yards compared to Leake’s 116 yards. Copiah also had no turnovers on the sloppy track, while the Rebels lost the ball three times: once on Boone’s interception and twice on fumble recoveries by Brandon Smith and Michael Bagley.
Kelton Smith was the leading rusher with 21 carries for 272 yards and four touchdowns, while quarterback Ben Boone completed 3 of 5 passes for 65 yards and a TD.
“I was real pleased with our effort tonight,” CA head coach Scotty Cline said in a radio interview afterwards. “I told our guys we had to win across the front, and we did. And with the field conditions like they were, you’ve got to hang on to the ball, and we didn’t have any turnovers. That’s pretty amazing.
“I was very pleased with the way we started out,” the Copiah coach continued. “We kind of relaxed after that first quarter, but we’ve got a good group of seniors who wouldn’t let us get too comfortable.”
Cline also praised his offensive line. “Kelton gets a lot on his own, but he’ll be the first to tell you he couldn’t do it without their help. Hats off to our offensive line.”
The Colonels will travel down I-55 to McComb this Friday night to take on the Parklane Academy Pioneers, 5-2, in an important district matchup. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM.