Pickens County Wins Class 1A Semifinals in a Thriller
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The Pickens County Tornados defeated the Coosa Christian Conquerors 44-40 to advance to the class 1A state championship game.
"That game epitomizes what Reform is all about, just don't quit and grind it out kind of attitude," said Pickens County head coach Michael Williams.
Coosa Christian started the game with the ball on its own 26-yard line. After a 13-yard run by sophomore quarterback John Justus to put the Conquerors at its own 39-yard line, senior running back Jacara Mostella scored the first points of the game with a 61-yard rushing touchdown to put the Conquerors up 7-0.
Pickens County drove down to the Coosa Christian nine-yard line but turned the ball over on downs, setting up Coosa Christian deep in its own territory. The Conquerors got down to its own 24-yard when senior Elijah Merriweather intercepted the Conquerors pass to set up the Pickens County offense at the opponents 32-yard line.
Pickens County started its second drive with a 26-yard pass from senior quarterback Demarkis Giles to junior wide receiver Kemaurion Plott to put the Tornados offense at the opponents six-yard line, where junior running back Korbit Sommerville scored on a six-yard rushing touchdown to put up Pickens County's first points of the night. The Tornados took the one-point lead 8-7 with a successful two-point conversion.
Coosa Christian started its next drive at its own 32-yard line. After a couple plays and a 30-yard pass from Justus to sophomore tight end Elijah Motes, the team was at the opponents 35-yard line when the first quarter ended. The Conquerors drove the ball to the opponents five-yard line, but after a holding penalty and an incomplete pass forced the Conquerors to kick a 28-yard field goal from junior kicker Jadan Burns to put Coosa Christian up 10-8 to start the second quarter.
Pickens County was unable to respond and had to punt the ball to Coosa Christian, who got the ball at midfield. The Conquerors scored on a 43-yard touchdown pass from Justus to wide receiver Jacoby Tucker. Coosa Christian had a good two-point conversion attempt which extended its lead 18-8.
After a couple of punts back and forth, Pickens County got the ball back at its own nine-yard line, but Motes intercepted the Pickens County pass and returned it for a Coosa Christian touchdown. A failed two-point conversion kept the Conquerors lead 24-8.
Pickens County got the ball ball back and started its next drive at its own 28-yard. Sommerville ran the ball for a 72-yard rushing touchdown. The Tornados succeeded on its two-point conversion attempt and cut their deficit to 24-16 heading into halftime.
Pickens County started the second half with a three-and-out.
Coosa Christian started its first drive of the second half at the opponents 39-yard line. The team drove the ball to the opponents 18-yard which is when Mostella ran the ball for a 18-yard rushing touchdown. Coosa Christian had an unsuccessful two-point conversion but still had a two-score lead on the Tornados 30-16.
Pickens County started its next drive at its own 14-yard line and with the help of a 28-yard run and a 27-yard run by Sommerville, the Tornados drove the ball to the opponents two-yard line where Sommerville finished the drive with a two-yard rushing touchdown. A successful two-point conversion cut the Pickens County deficit to 30-24.
Both teams could failed to move the ball for the rest of the third quarter, however Coosa Christian opened up the fourth quarter with a 27-yard pass from Justus to Mostella and an 11-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Peyton O'Bryant to put the Conquerors at the goal line where Justus ran the ball for a two-yard rushing touchdown. The successful extra point put the Conquerors up 37-24.
Pickens County responded to the touchdown by driving the ball down the field with a 31-yard pass and a 27-yard pass from Giles to wide receiver Santonio Jones, placing the Tornados at the opponents three-yard line. Sommerville capped off the drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown. An unsuccessful two-point conversion kept Coosa Christian's lead 37-30.
Coosa Christian was unable to respond and was forced to punt the ball back to Pickens County. The Tornados drove the ball to the opponents 14-yard line and Jones finished off the possession with a 14-yard rushing touchdown. The two-point conversion was successful and gave the Tornados back the lead 38-37 with less than three minutes left in the game.
Coosa Christian got the ball and drove to the opponents 25-yard line. The Pickens County defense held the team there but Burns kicked a 42-yard field goal to give the Conquerors the lead 40-38 with 30 seconds left in the game.
Pickens County, with 30 seconds remaining in the game, started its drive at its own 40-yard line. After an eight-yard pass from Giles to Sommerville and a 31-yard pass from Giles to Jones, the Tornados were at the opponents 21-yard line with seven seconds remaining in the game. Giles took the snap, scrambled to his right, and threw the ball into the end zone where Plott was there to catch the 21-yard game-winning touchdown.
Plott on the game winning reception said that when the ball was in the air coming to him all he saw was "my moment."
Pickens County finished the night with a combined 286 rushing yards and Coosa Christian running back Mostella finished the night with 192 rushing yards on 31 attempts.
Pickens County will play Leroy in the class 1A state championship game in Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Thursday, December 1, 2022, at 3 p.m. CT.