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Bessemer Academy rolls to season opening win, stretches win streak to 14 games

John Davis | PrepsNet

Montgomery, AL – The Bessemer Academy Rebels picked up right where they left off in 2015, dominating on the the gridiron.

The defending AISA State Champions rolled to a 35-13 victory over Lamar School of Meridian, MS in the inaugural Southeastern Commission of Independent Schools Kickoff Classic at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.

Josh Wright’s Rebel defense started the scoring, midway through the first quarter, with a Chris Levins 75 yard interception return into the end zone.  Levins pick would be the first of six for the Rebs and the first of two that would reach the end zone.

After kicking the ball back to Lamar, the Rebel defense only took three plays to steal the ball back again, this time Grey Humphries picked off a Davis Harris pass returning the ball to the Bessemer offense at the Lamar 44 yard line.  Three plays later BA running back Noah Wilder capped the Rebels first offensive drive with a 28 yard scamper into the end zone,  Jay Finch’s second PAT of the quarter put the Rebels up 14-0 to close out the first quarter.

Halfway through the second quarter, Bessemer Academy’s Xavier Coleman handed the ball back to the Rebel offense, at the Lamar 45 yard line, with the third INT of the night.  On the next play, Coleman caught the ball again, this time on a 28 yard pass from Rebel quarterback Blaine Smith.  One play later, the Rebels were back on the board following a 17 yard scamper by Thomas Sims.  With Finch’s boot through the uprights, the defending champs held an early 21-0 lead.

Following a Raider three and out, the Rebels took the ball back at their own 39 yard line.  After being setup by his own eight yard fake punt run, Blaine Smith pitched a 51 yard touchdown strike to senior wide receiver Tanner Stinnett.

With 3:40 to play before the break the Rebels held a commanding 28-0 lead.

Following a fourth down conversion by by Lamar, Noah Wilder snagged the Rebels fourth interception of the first half.  The drive that followed ended with a Rebel fumble, recovered by the Raiders, effectively capping the opening half.

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The first two drives of the third quarter ended with a turnover on downs by Lamar and a Blaine Smith pass being picked off by Raiders defensive back J.T. McClelland.

Xavier Coleman picked off his second pass of the evening on the next Raider drive giving the ball back to Smith and the Rebel offense deep in their own territory.  After an electrifying Thomas Sims 85 yard touchdown run was called back for holding the BA drive stalled forcing the Rebels fourth punt of the night, this one downed by Bessemer at the Raiders own two yard line.

On the next play, Bessemer DB Marquan Pollock added his name to the Rebel interception club, picking off a Joseph Hutchinson pass and returning it into the end zone.  With 0:15 seconds remaining in the third quarter Bessemer Academy was up 35-0.

The start of the fourth quarter sparked the Lamar Raider offense.  The opening drive of the fourth featured a 69 yard Davis Harris to Will Roberts touchdown strike to put Lamar on the board with 10:18 remaining.  Following a failed extra point try the Rebels margin was cut to 35-6.

The Raiders reached the end zone for the final time with 5:00 to go in the contest on a 20 touchdown pass from Hutchinson to sophomore receiver Chet Williams.  This time Williams’ point after split the uprights giving the Raiders from Meridian 13 points for the night.

Bessemer iced the final five minutes to walk away with at 35-13 victory, giving Alabama a 2-0 record in the first annual SECIS Kickoff Classic.

The Rebels return to action, back in Montgomery, Friday August 19th against Monroe Academy at Faulkner University’s Billy D. Hilyer Stadium.

Bessemer Academy defeated Monroe 34-6 in last season’s AISA state title game at Troy University.  Monroe holds a 7-9 lead, all time, against the Rebels.

 Bessemer AcademyLamar School
1st Downs913
Total Yards271259
Fumbles11
Fumbles Lost10
Penalties 113
Penalty Yards8222
Passing Yards125177
Passing Attempts812
Interceptions16
Rushing Attempts2818
Rushing Yards14682