By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
AMORY – In front of a packed house at Longenecker Field, the A-Game finally delivered a gem.
For the third straight season, Aberdeen took home the A-Trophy, this one after a 14-7 win against archrival Amory in the 75th edition.
“Sloppy,” said Aberdeen coach Chris Duncan. “The first half we were in the red zone three times and came away with no points. A lot of bad things happened to us and we were able to survive.”
With senior starting quarterback Forest Williams sidelined with a torn MCL, Amory took the lead with 6 minutes, 28 seconds left in the third quarter. Jeremy Roberts, who was a catch away from a pick-six on the game’s opening drive, intercepted Aberdeen freshman quarterback Josh Williams and ran it in from seven yards away. Josh Tomlin’s kick made it 7-6 Amory.
After matching punts, Aberdeen answered when Justin Lucas, nicknamed ‘Bull’ bulled through three defenders and wound up in the end zone with two of them hanging on from 12 yards away.
Channing Ward caught the two-point conversion and the Bulldogs took a 14-7 advantage.
The drive featured a third-and-9 as Williams scrambled left and hit Jeremy Brandon for a 42-yard completion.
“Anybody hates to lose but we took one of the best teams in the state and played them to the mat,” second-year Amory coach Trent Hammond said. “I think what that shows is we’ve come a long way from this time last year.”
Aberdeen won last year’s contest 60-12. Amory leads the series 44-31. Friday, Levail McFarland had 95 yards on 18 carries for the Bulldogs (2-1).
Amory (2-1) was an inch away from tying the game with 4:52 to play when a second-and-goal snap from the 1 went wrong and Aberdeen recovered to run out the clock.
“Our kids are used to winning and they’re going to fight,” said Duncan, who has won four of his five A-Games. “We had a lot of bad things happen. We continued to play and that’s a sign of a good football team.”
Amory picked up the game’s first first down on its second drive when Dario Robinson caught an 11-yard pass from freshman Jon David Poss. Three plays later, Robinson caught a short pass and took off 13 yards but fumbled as Sammie Burroughs picked it up and ran it ten yards to the 20.
On fourth-and-15 from the 25, Williams hit Michael Hodges across the middle. Hodges weaved his way in between tacklers into the end zone. The two-point conversion pass failed. Williams was 6 of 20 for 116 yards.
The Bulldogs (2-1) blew another chance right after the score. Burroughs picked another pass from Poss and ran it 27 yards to the 18.
Aberdeen turned it over on downs at the Amory 8 as Williams was inches short of a first down on fourth-and-2.
Amory got the the ball back at the Aberdeen 8 with 5:00 left in the half after a botched punt.
Jeffery Riddle picked Poss two plays later, though, for a touchback. Aberdeen drove 61 yards before Justin Lucas was stopped on fourth-and-inches at the Amory 19.