Gordo High School used two big plays in the second half and a tenacious defensive effort to post a 28-21 victory over Glencoe in the 10th annual AHSAA Champions Challenge Football Classic at Cramton Bowl Saturday.
The Classic is an event of the AHSAA and is hosted annually by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl. The Class 3A battle was the second of three games in the 2015 series. Class 7A Bob Jones and Class 6A Carver-Montgomery met in the final game Saturday night, and Madison Academy beat Leeds 19-14 on Friday in the first game.
The MA-Leeds game was the regular-season opener for those teams while the final two games were considered preseason jamboree games.
Leading 14-7 at intermission thanks to a punishing offensive attack and even stronger defense, Coach Ryan Lolley’s Green Wave struck with lightning speed midway through the third period when Pat Manning streaked through a gaping hole for 95 yards to give Gordo a 21-7 lead at 7:04 of the third quarter.
Glencoe, anchored by a talented offensive front, responded with an 11-play, 81-yard drive that ended with Aaron Bush hauling in an 18-yard pass in the corner of the end zone to close the gap to 21-14 with 1:49 left in the third. The Yellow Jackets, coached by Lee Ozmint, got the ball back with 11:49 left in the fourth quarter and mounted another time-consuming drive using 13 snaps to move from their own 37-yard line to the Gordo 11. With 4:34 remaining, however, the Green Wave lightning struck again when defensive back Xavier Lanier picked off a pass at the 5-yard line and raced 95 yards for the TD as Gordo jumped back ahead 28-14.
Glencoe responded once again, though, driving 70 yards in nine plays to cut the lead to 28-21 with 47 seconds left when Taylor Daugherty scored on a 6-yard scamper.
The onside kick that followed sailed out of bounds and Gordo needed only two snaps to run out the clock.
Gordo led 14-7 at the half with the first score coming on an 11-play, 64-yard march to open the game. It culminated with Collin Herring scoring on a 5-yard run. Will Hankins’ kick gave the Green Wave a 7-0 lead with 6:35 left in the quarter. Glencoe tied the contest early in the second quarter following a 49-yard punt return by Pace Ozmint to the Gordo 1-yard line. Chase Wilson bulled in for the score on the next play, and Andrew Long kicked the extra point to tie the game at 7-7.
Gordo tight end Ben Davis, considered one of the top senior prospects in the Southeast, turned a short pass from Koy Chapman into a 24-yard TD reception with 3:23 left in the half to close out the first-half scoring.
Only 12 yards separated the two teams’ total yards with Glencoe rolling up 115 rushing, 150 passing while Gordo gained 193 yards on the ground and 60 passing for 253 yards. Manning was the game’s leading rusher with 123 yards rushing on eight carries for Gordo. Malcolm Nicholson also added 41 on 13 carries and Chapman was 5-of-7 passing for 60 yards. Davis finished with two catches for 36 yards.
Wilson completed 12-of-18 passes for 150 yards and one TD for Glencoe. Pace Ozmint had five receptions for 76 yards, and Dalton Roberts had four for 35 yards. Wilson also rushed for 39 yards on 15 carries, and Taylor Daugherty had 62 on 16 carries.
Tyree Hurst had 11 tackles, Dee Jones had nine, Davis and Herring had eight each to lead the Green Wave defense. Austin Bush had 10 stops and Ozmint had nine to lead the Jackets.