With two and a half minutes left, Reeltown coach Matt Johnson called on his senior kicker to drive the final nail in the coffin of J.U. Blacksher and send the Rebels to the state quarterfinals next Friday night. Connor Moore drove that nail in the form of a 42-yard field goal to seal a 30-20 road win on Friday night.
“I never second guessed it,” Johnson told WACQ Radio following the game.
“Great snap, great hold and great kick by who we call ‘Thunder Foot,’” Johnson added.
The Reeltown Rebels hit the ground running — quite literally — in the first Cquarter of their 2A second-round playoff game at J.U. Blacksher.
After the Rebels forced a three-and-out to open the game, senior running back Cameron Faison took the Rebels’ first play from scrimmage for a 50-yard touchdown carry.
Reeltown (11-1) leaned on its defense in the early going against J.U. Blacksher star quarterback KD Rabb. After the Rebel defense forced its fourth-straight three-and-out to begin the game, the Rebel offense found its rhythm again.
Faison came back with a couple big runs to set up senior Tre Hughley with a 14-yard touchdown run. A Moore extra point put the Rebels up 14-0 with 9:45 left in the second quarter.
“He is just special,” Johnson said of Hughley. “I love him like my own.”
Faison, the 5-foot-11, 165-pound two-way star, made his defensive impact felt on the next drive with an interception of Rabb and a 44-yard touchdown return to put the Rebels up 20-0 with eight to go in the half.
Blacksher (9-3) moved the chains for the first time all night on the next drive. That first down seemed to trigger Rabb and his offense. The junior quarterback hit Jaiveyon Tucker for a 34-yard touchdown.
Reeltown looked poised to answer and quickly drove into the red zone, but a fumble gave the ball back to the Bulldogs and Rabb went right back to work in the passing game.
Rabb found Tucker and Dorien Quarles for big gains then carried it in himself for a three-yard touchdown with 44 seconds left in the half. The Bulldogs missed the extra point and went to the locker room trailing 20-13.
The defenses came out strong to begin the third quarter, but a big interception from Logan Lee got the ball back to the Rebels, and they found a way to add to their lead. Facing and fourth-and-17 from the Blacksher 37-yard line, Iverson Hooks launched a pass towards Faison, and the running back hauled the ball in for a 36-yard gain.
Sedarico Brooks pounded the ball into the end zone from just a yard out with seven seconds left in the third quarter for a 27-13 lead.
Rabb kept his side in the game with another short touchdown run, but the Reeltown defense tightened up after that and special teams did its part to seal the win. And once Moore’s kick went through, the Rebels could breathe a sigh of relief.
Reeltown will advance to G.W. Long in the state quarterfinals Friday. G.W. Long beat Luverne 28-13 to earn its place in the quarterfinals. The game will kick off in Reeltown at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Reeltown 30, J.U. Blacksher 20
R 7 13 7 3 — 30
B 13 0 7 0 — 20
R — Cameron Faison 50-yad run (XP good), 9:25
R — Tre Hughley 14-yd run (XP good), 9:45
R — Faison 44-yard interception return (XP no good), 8:01
B — Jaiveyon Tucker 34-yd pass from KD Rabb (XP good), 6:33
B — Rabb 3-yd run (XP no good), 0:44
R — Sedarico Brooks 1-yd run (XP good), 0:07
B — KD Rabb 3-yd run (XP good), 9:25
R — Connor Moore 42-yd FG, 2:30