New Albany’s Brown returns blocked field goal for winning score

Lauren Wood | Daily Journal New Albany's Chris Brown runs to the end zone to score at the end of Friday night's game against Amory.

Lauren Wood | Daily Journal
New Albany’s Chris Brown runs to the end zone to score at the end of Friday night’s game against Amory.

By Jay Tidwell

Special to the Journal

NEW ALBANY – The final play wasn’t in anyone’s playbook.

New Albany’s Chris Brown scooped up a blocked field goal and scampered 25 yards for a score as time expired to lift the Bulldogs to a 13-7 win against Amory on Friday.

It was the second win in a row on the last play of the game for New Albany (2-2).

Brown, a senior, had lined up to the far left of the line for a 42-yard kick by teammate Eathen Rainey with 2.7 seconds remaining in regulation. When Amory defenders smothered the attempt, Brown grabbed the ball in the backfield and headed farther to the left. With no room to run, he turned back and broke loose down the right sideline for the touchdown.

“I saw the ball, and the next thing was to get it,” Brown said. “My guys blocked and I ran it to the end zone. We really needed this win.”

Both teams struggle

The unusual development capped a night when both teams were slow in finding a rhythm.

“It would have been a lot easier if we could have just kicked the game-winning field goal like we did last week,” said New Albany coach Ron Price.

“The thing that makes me proud is that even after the ball was blocked, our kids didn’t quit. Chris was aware to pick the ball up, the other kids started blocking for him, and next thing I know he’s in the end zone.”

After a scoreless first half, Jimmy Baldon scored on an 8-yard sprint for New Albany in the opening series of the third.

Amory (2-2) drove 64 yards to tie it on a 5-yard pass from Fred Garth to Drake Wallace with 3:57 left in the game.

The Bulldogs answered with a 65-yard drive that ended with Brown’s run.

“I was proud of how we played at the end,” said Amory coach Ben Ashley.

“Nothing was going our way, then some guys started making plays for us.”

Ashley pointed out that he believed the last play was dead when the kick was blocked. The officials conferred for several moments after the play, then signaled a TD.