Lee-Scott Falls to Tuscaloosa Academy
BY WIL CREWS
The Tuscaloosa Academy passing attack found its groove in the second half of the AISA Class 3A state semi-finals as the Knights posted two fourth quarter touchdowns to down the Lee-Scott Academy Warriors, 26-13.
The highly contested game began as a defensive affair, with both squads playing the field position game until Tuscaloosa broke through with a 37-yard field goal with just 1:40 remaining in the
second quarter Lee-Scott went three-and-out on the ensuing possession and the Knights got the ball back with just enough time to register a 31-yard field goal before the half, making it 6-0 in favor of Tuscaloosa at the break.
Lee-Scott scored on its first drive of the second half via a play action rollout from quarterback Tate McKelvey who found a sliding Anderson Grimes on a 3-yard touchdown. The PAT was no good due to a high snap and the game was deadlocked at 6-6.
Tuscaloosa Academy responded on its next possession, moving the ball 65 yards on just five plays, capping the drive off with a 25-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was also no good, and the Knights led 12-6.
From there, it wasn’t until the fourth quarter when Tuscaloosa Academy began to distance itself. The Knights extended their lead to 19-6 via a 52-yard touchdown pass from the Tuscaloosa quarterback (his second of the game) early in the final period.
On the ensuing possession, the Lee-Scott offense sustained one of its best drives of the game and moved the ball to the goal line thanks to some tough running by Jonathan Meyers and a 28-yard pass-and-catch from McKelvey to Grimes.
The smaller Lee-Scott offensive line struggled to pave rushing lanes against the superior-sized Tuscaloosa defensive line for most of the game, and the following plays were no different. On fourth-and-goal from the one, Lee-Scott runner Landry Cochran took the handoff, ran into a mound of bodies and after what seemed like minutes of struggling, was called short of the goal line. The Warriors’ turnover and missed opportunity to answer proved costly as a couple plays later the Tuscaloosa offense connected on a 40-yard pass that was originally tipped by the Lee-Scott defense. The big play gave the Knights’ offense some breathing room and pushed momentum further in their favor. A few plays later, Tuscaloosa ushered in the game-clinching score.
From near midfield, the Knights’ ball carrier took a handoff off right tackle, accelerated past the Lee-Scott linebackers and stiffed armed a Warrior defender for the last 10 yards before falling into the end zone to make the score 26-6 with 3:13 remaining in the contest.
The Warriors did manage to respond with one more score on a 20-yard draw play to Patrick Futch. The ensuing onside kick from Lee-Scott was recovered by the Knights and, like the game clock, the Warrior’s championship hopes dwindled to zero.
Offensively, the Warriors totaled 157 yards (94 rushing, 63 passing) compared to Tuscaloosa Academy’s 449 total.
The Warriors finish 2021 at 8-3 overall, their first winning season since 2016. Some highlights include defeating rival Glenwood and hosting a home postseason game for the first time since 2015.