With their 27-21 victory over the Mobile Christian Leopards (9-2, 5-1) Friday, the American Christian Patriots (12-0, 7-0) have secured a trip to round three of the playoffs. Leading the way for the Patriots was quarterback Hunter Sute, whose 173 passing yards and two touchdowns led to an uncharacteristically low-scoring game for ACA.

Quarterback Sawyer Deerman also made an appearance at quarterback. Deerman went 1-for-2 for 23 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.

Chris Smelley, the head coach for ACA, was proud of his team for making it to a fourth straight third-round appearance.

“When you play a team like Mobile Christian, it doesn’t have to be a pretty win. You are just looking to survive and advance.

Courtesy of Joe Gaither, TIDE 100.9
Courtesy of Joe Gaither, TIDE 100.9

Along with his snaps at quarterback, Deerman also rushed for 25 yards and had several snaps as a receiver. Also contributing to the Patriots offensive show was running back Brandon Waller. Waller rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.

While the Leopards had a successful multi-pronged rushing attack, the Patriots’ defense held through. This resulted in only the third game this season that Mobile Christian hasn’t scored at least 25 points.

“Coming out of halftime, the defense stepped up and caused a turnover,” Smelley said. “This was really a gritty performance by the defense.”

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Mobile Christian quarterback Johnny Schmitz led the team in yards by passing for 104 and rushing for 19. Schmitz went 10-for-20 and threw two touchdowns. Deonte Lawson, an Alabama commit that played both linebacker at defense and running back on offense, rushed for 71 yards and the Leopards’ other touchdown.

While Mobile Christian may have lost, their defense allowed the fewest points that ACA has had this year. Before this game, ACA’s lowest amount of points scored was in August against Greensboro.

Courtesy of Joe Gaither
Courtesy of Joe Gaither

Lawson had high praises to sing for the Patriots after the close loss.

“We kind of shot ourselves in the foot. That’s a great team over there,” Lawson said.

Earlier in the season, the Leopards took down football powerhouse UMS-Wright, a school in Mobile that won three straight state titles from 2017-2019 and is looking for a fourth straight this year.

With this victory, ACA will be traveling to Montgomery to take on Alabama Christian. This is American Christian’s sixth straight trip to the postseason and their second 12-0 start in three years.

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