By Adam Gore
CLINTON – Out-manned and out-sized, the Calhoun Academy Cougars took Russell Christian to the wire on Friday morning in a 29-28 loss in the MAIS 8-Man state championship game at Mississippi College.
“These guys played their hearts out all the way down to the wire,” said Calhoun Academy interim head coach Tim Melton. “We missed a couple of two-point conversions, but I couldn’t be more prouder than the way these guys put it all on the line.”
Both of the losses this season for the Cougars (11-2) came to Russell Christian.
Senior QB Hunter Harmon scored what Cougar fans celebrated as the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard run with 50 seconds left in the game, but they were quickly silenced when the score was called back on an illegal motion call.
“I’m not real sure about the call, but that’s just part of the game,” said Melton.
Russell (13-0) recovered a Calhoun fumble on the ensuing play, sending their fans into a frenzy.
Three timeouts and two stops later, the Cougars forced a Warriors’ punt to have one final shot at victory with 7.9 seconds left.
time runs out
Harmon found fellow senior Danny Joe Norman for a 42-yard connection to move the Cougars inside the 5, but couldn’t get the snap off in time enough to spike the ball to set-up a shot at a 20-yard game-winning field goal.
After a short discussion about the amount of time that ran off the clock on the final play, officials ruled the game was over.
“I couldn’t be prouder,” an emotional Melton said after the game. “Coming from a school that’s never done anything to playing for a state championship. God’s blessed this little place so much and He’s going to continue to bless it.”
Harmon rushed for 52 yards and had 109 yards passing with two touchdowns to Norman, who caught three passes for 80 yards. Senior Kyle Carter rushed for 116 yards and two TDs.