Crenshaw Christian Academy advances to AISA semifinal with 32-6 win over Wilcox Academy

Published 8:31 am Thursday, November 10, 2022

Two teams met across the field of Cougar Stadium in Luverne on Friday night — both clad in blue and white.

But only one, Crenshaw Christian Academy, earned the victory with a 32-6 win over Wilcox Academy, and with it, a position in the Alabama Independent School Association Class A playoff semifinals.

“We knew it was going to be a tougher game than the last time when we played them,” reflected Cougars head coach Wayne Grant. “I knew it was gonna come down to the team that wanted the most. And, I was hoping that my team could do that.”

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The Cougars did just that.

Crenshaw Christian pulled ahead with its second touchdown near the end of the first quarter, and the Wildcats were unable to recover.

“[My team] played hard,” said Wilcox head coach Woodie Beck. “They’ve been resilient.”

Brayden Moore scored the first Cougars touchdown after the first turnover. Moore powered through eight rushes for 92 yards and five defensive tackles during the game.

On the next possession, Wilcox answered with an 85-yard touchdown, its final scoring play of the season.

Crenshaw Christian battled their way back into Wilcox territory, where Drake Mills scored the next Cougar touchdown. Overall, Mills ran for 66 yards on 11 rushes and engineered six defensive tackles in the match.

All through the second quarter, both teams grappled up and down the field. Each tried, and failed, to add points to the scoreboard through the remainder of the first half.

“We stumbled a little bit and were not as aggressive as we needed to be at times,” Grant said. “But then, we rose up to the occasion and made plays defensively when we needed to, even though we gave up some early in the ballgame. Late in the ballgame we made defensive plays and were able to overcome.”

Early in the third quarter, the Wildcats prepared to score again when they gained the ball deep in Cougar territory, just 14 yards from the endzone.

But when Wilcox failed to make a first down, with less than two minutes left in the quarter, Logan Owens fielded a punt and sprinted 63 yards down the field for another Cougars touchdown.

Owens returned from an injury as quarterback and went 3-of-7 for 39 yards passing, adding seven rushes for 106 yards and seven defensive tackles.

The score rested at 18-6 as the fourth quarter began. Crenshaw Christian’s defense held the line. The Cougars scored again when Moore carried the punt return 54 yards for another touchdown.

“We’ve been working on defense,” Grant explained. “That’s why I’m getting a little bit upset with some of them for not being where they were supposed to be. I know they are 14 and 15 years old. You’ve got to start teaching them when they’re young how to do things and when to do it.”

Moore intercepted the Wildcats’ next pass and scored on a 75-yard touchdown return with less than two minutes on the clock.

“We’ve had injury after injury and these guys stuck with me,” Beck described. “But we’ve been battle tested this year and I’m very proud of our kids.”

Seniors Coleman Owens and Walden Mitchell registered 13 and eight tackles respectively. Sophomore Dalton Jordan also accomplished eight tackles.

Crenshaw Christian will travel to Jackson on Veterans Day to challenge Jackson Academy in a semifinal showdown.