Written by Daniel Payne

Friday night’s game was billed as the game of the week on two local stations and actually became the first high school football game to be televised live. The pitted the #1 American Christian Patriots versus #2 Bibb County.

With all the hype and bright lights going on, and numerous D-1 scouts in the stands to watch not only Bibb’s Deshun Murrell, but also four Patriot players who are high in the recruiting rankings, there was only one thing left to do and thats kickoff and get the game started.

John Hunter Watkins blocks a Patriot defender. Photo by Bridget Stokes.

The Choctaws won the toss and elected to receive the opening kick. As the Choctaws lined up to get the game started, trouble struck on the first play as an errant pitch fell to the ground and was quickly recovered by the Patriots at the Choctaws 20 yard line. Two plays later, Patriots running back Brandon Waller scored his first touchdown of the night on a 4 yard touchdown run. Gabriel Henson added the extra point and with just over a minute off the clock, the Patriots were quickly up 7-0.

The Choctaws were forced to punt on their next drive and following a 38 yard punt by Baylor Hughey the Patriots set up shop on their own 33 yard line. Waller got free for 33 yards and then Sawyer Deerman took the snap from center and got free for a 27 yard run. After an offsides penalty on the Choctaws, Deerman went around left end and dove into the end zone for the score. Henson again added the extra point and the Patriots were up 14-0.

On their next drive the Choctaws began to move the ball as Murrell began finding some room. The Patriots were hit with a pass interference call and a 15 yard personal foul penalty a few plays later as the Patriots linebacker drug Murrell down with a handful of his facemask. Murrell would find the end zone on a two yard run. Hughey’s extra point was good and as we headed to the second quarter, it was now a 14-7 ballgame.

Again the Patriots used the running of Waller and Deerman to move down the field and Waller scored from 2 yards out to make it 21-7 following Henson’s extra point.

Parker Mitchell makes a tackle on defense against the Patriots. Photo by Bridget Stokes.

The Choctaws took over at their own 35 yard line following the kickoff. Murrel and McCarty each found running room and the Choctaws quickly moved down the field. Murrell found the end zone for his second score of the night on a 3 yard touchdown burst. The two point conversion was no good leaving the score 21-13 with 4:50 to go in the half.

On their next possession the Patriots quarterback, Hunter Sute found Cam Jeffrey behind the secondary for a 58 yard touchdown strike.Following the extra point the Patriots had extended their lead to 28-13.  The Choctaws were forced into a three and out on their next drive and were forced to punt. Sute again found Jeffrey for a 44 yard gain and Waller would dart in from 1 yard out to move the lead to 35-13 at the half.

The second half saw the Patriots score three more times as Deerman scored on a 1 run. Waller would score on runs of 38 yards and 96 yards (against the Choctaws reserves with 3:23 to go in the game)

The Choctaws did see some promising things in the fourth quarter as the reserve offense moved the ball against the Patriots starters. Though they were turned around twice inside the 5, it was good to see the younger guys not only play, but have success against the Patriots. Jordan Goode looked real good running the ball as he gained 58 yards on just 9 carries.

On the night the Choctaws were led by Murrell who finished the night with 92 yards and 2 touchdowns on 28 carries. McCarty added 86 yards on 10 carries, while Goode added 58.

With the loss the Choctaws fall to 4-1 on the season and 2-1 in the region. They have to shake this loss off and get prepared for a tough 5a Andalusia team this Friday night. The game will played again at home and will kickoff at 7 pm.