By James Beasley
The Copiah Academy Colonels couldn’t overcome a slow start as they lost to the Parklane Academy Pioneers 28-14 last Friday night in McComb.
CA took the opening kickoff and drove into Parklane territory, aided by an eight-yard pass completion from quarterback Ben Boone to Bryce Guess. The drive stalled there, and Copiah was forced to punt.
Both teams swapped punts until the Pioneers drove 74
yards in 12 plays, thanks to 17-yard and 26-yard pass completions, respectively, from sophomore quarterback Steven Swindle to Chance Schmidt. Running back Josh Armstreet scored on a 10-yard touchdown run, and Swindle connected with Matthew Goodwin for the two-point conversion that gave their team an 8-0 lead in the final seconds of the opening period.
Parklane scored again three minutes into the second quarter when Swindle ran left and scampered 85 yards for a touchdown. Conner Mize booted the PAT, putting the Pioneers ahead 15-0.
Following the kickoff, CA got untracked as running back Kelton Smith picked up 22 yards on two carries. Hunter Renfroe had a 10-yard run, and a pass from Boone to Houston Brock netted 11 more yards.
Then came what seemed to be a real turning point in the game. Facing a 4th down-and-14, Kelton Smith’s run came up one inch short on a controversial spot by the officials, turning the ball over on downs at the Pioneer two. However, Copiah’s Brandon Smith picked up a Parklane fumble on the next play and waltzed into the end zone for a touchdown. Russ Singleton ran for the two-point conversion, and CA trailed 15-8 with just under five minutes left in the half.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Pioneers responded on the first play as Swindle passed to Schmidt, who took it 65 yards for a touchdown. Mize added the PAT, and Parklane led 22-8 heading into intermission.
The Pioneers drove all the way to the CA 35 to open the second half, but Swindle was stopped short of the first down by Bryce Guess on 4th-and-8. Copiah drove deep into Parklane territory before turning the ball over on downs.
The Colonels got the ball back on Boone’s interception midway through the third period, but gave it right back two plays later on Hunter Authement’s pick in CA territory. From there, the Pioneers drove 30 yards, with Schmidt scoring from the one on a quarterback sneak. The PAT was wide left, and Parklane led 28-8 early in the final stanza.
Kelton Smith sparked hopes of a Colonel comeback when he took the ensuing kickoff and raced 77 yards for a touchdown. The PAT was wide left, and Copiah trailed 28-14 with 10:43 remaining. However, CA couldn’t get any closer as the teams swapped possessions the rest of the way.
“We had a couple of big plays,” Parklane head coach Bo Milton said afterwards. “The big pass play after they had scored on the fumble recovery was the difference.
“Copiah is a good team,” he continued. “They’re one of the best defenses we’ve played all year. I’m proud of the way we played. Both teams played hard, and I wish Copiah the best of the luck in the playoffs.”
“We were fairly slow getting started,” Cline said during a radio interview Saturday morning. “We turned it around midway through the second quarter and played pretty good football after that. The difference was a couple of big plays.”
The stats were fairly even on the ground, with CA picking up 208 yards to Parklane’s 238 yards. However, Copiah had only 46 yards passing on 4 of 11 attempts, while the Pioneers were 7 of 16 for 180 yards.
CA’s Kelton Smith carried the ball 22 times for 92 yards, while Boone had 43 yards on 11 carries, Renfroe 30 yards on 6 carries, and Guess 19 yards on 5 carries.
Defensively, Boone led the way with 7 tackles. Other Colonel totals included Guess with 5 ½ tackles, Renfroe with 4 ½ , and Michael Williams and Adam Pitts with 3 ½ apiece.
Copiah is now 1-2 in district play and 5-4 overall and faces a “must-win” situation this Friday night when the Colonels travel to Pelahatchie to play East Rankin Academy. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM.