By James Beasley
Last Friday night’s football game in Madden between Copiah Academy and Leake Academy went back and forth, but in the end the Rebels outscored the visiting Colonels 33-24. The win improved Leake’s record to 3-2, while CA remained winless at 0-5.
The Colonels got an early break when Dillon Holloway recovered a Rebel fumble on the first play of the game. On the very next play, sophomore quarterback Ryan Drew connected with Bryce Berry for a 40-yard touchdown. The PAT was no good, and Copiah led 6-0.
On their ensuing possession, the Rebels ran five plays, scoring on a 50-yard TD pass from Reed Mayfield to Shawn Myers. John Forrest Sisson kicked the PAT that put Leake ahead 7-6 in the first period. The Rebels scored again midway through the quarter on Thomas Nazary’s 12-yard run. The PAT was no good, leaving Leake with a 13-6 lead heading into the second period.
The Colonels moved deep into Rebel territory after Drew scampered 36 yards to the Rebels’ 33, but lost the ball on a fumble. A long pass to #33 set up Mayfield’s 13-yard TD pass to Myers early in the second period. Sisson added the PAT, increasing Leake’s lead to 20-6.
After the teams exchanged possessions, CA got the ball near midfield. Three plays later, Sam Stevens picked up 8 yards on fourth-and-inches. Moments after quarterback Ryan Drew ran for 11 yards and a first down, he connected with Bryce Berry on fourth-and-ten for a 30-yard touchdown. The PAT was no good, and CA trailed by eight, 20-12, with 4:48 remaining in the half.
But the Colonels weren’t through. They got the ball back and drove 66 yards in 8 plays, climaxed by Drew’s third touchdown pass of the night to Berry, who snatched it away from a Rebel defender. The 2-point conversion was no good, and CA trailed by only two, 20-18, with 33 seconds left in the half.
Copiah took the second half kickoff and marched downfield led by Ryan Drew, who ran for 24 and 30 yards, respectively. The sophomore quarterback then tossed a 5-yard TD pass to Dillon Martin that put the Colonels ahead 24-20 early in the third period.
Leake responded with a drive of its own that featured a 65-yard pass from Mayfield to Alex Shepard all the way to the CA five. Two plays later, Taylor Nazary, twin brother of Thomas, scored to put the Rebels back up 26-24. The PAT was blocked by Copiah’s Ty Quick.
A couple of penalties on the ensuing kickoff backed the Colonels all the way to their own five. From there, they mounted a time-consuming drive that went nearly the length of the field. One of the highlights included a leaping catch by Berry that picked up 31 yards. The threat ended on a 35-yard field goal attempt that was unsuccessful.
Copiah got a break when Jake Risher fell on a fumble on the Leake 41-yard line. However, the Rebels got the ball right back on Christopher Tippin’s interception and 35-yard return down to the CA 29 midway through the final quarter. Moments later, Thomas Nazary scored on a 3-yard burst to give his team an insurance TD. Sisson added the PAT, and Leake hung on for the 33-24 victory.
The Colonels outgained the Rebels in total offense 402 yards to 321 yards, including 198 yards to 142 yards on the ground and 204 yards to 179 yards through the air. Drew tossed 4 touchdown passes – 3 of them to Bryce Berry.
“We jumped out to a quick lead on the flea flicker,” head coach Scotty Cline said in a post-game interview. “Then they scored 20 points, and we fought back to make it 20-18 at the half. There were 4 or 5 plays that made the difference. Those are plays we’ve got to make, but didn’t. We played better, but we’ve still got to find a way to win. Losing a close game still hurts.”
Cline was complimentary of his young quarterback, Ryan Drew, who rushed 26 times for 208 yards and completed 10 of 22 passes for 191 yards, including 4 touchdowns. “He did great,” the coach said. “He was making good plays. We’re real proud of him, and he’s still growing. The blockers up front did well tonight. We’ve gotta keep on working.”
Copiah will host Presbyterian Christian this Friday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM in Gallman.
By James Beasley