Priceville opens with 27-20 win over Brewer
Joe Holmes, Enquirer Correspondent
Last year it was “just” a jamboree game. This time, the Priceville Bulldogs’ win over cross-county rival Brewer went down in the record books.
Priceville came out on top 27-20 in a fiercely contested battle Friday night, fittingly decided by a four-down goal-line stand by the Bulldog defense late in the final quarter.
After exchanging punts with the Bulldogs early on, Brewer went to work at its own 37-yard line. With Lucas Wilson at the helm, the visitors moved the ball to the Priceville 39 when the senior quarterback dropped back and hit wide receiver Rodney Childs across the middle.
Childs couldn’t hang on to the ball, but it popped right into the waiting arms of fullback Chris Dickerson who rambled the remaining 25 yards for the score. A bobbled PAT snap left the score at 6-0 Brewer halfway through the first period.
Priceville answered following a strong defensive effort by Josh Heflin, Rand Hutchison and Jeremy Hale to bring Wilson down as he scrambled on a third-and-35. Wes Long pressured the ensuing punt, putting the Bulldogs in excellent field position at the Brewer 41.
Tailback Trevor Maxwell scampered 28 yards on first-and-10 and Eli Allen added eight more to drive the ball down to the Patriot 6. Maxwell did the honors from there, punching it in to tie the game at 6-all with 3:36 left in the first. Lance Hughes’ PAT attempt sailed just wide left.
With the Priceville cheerleaders still tossing celebratory footballs to the home fans, the Bulldogs capitalized again just 26 seconds later.
After the Bulldogs recovered Hughes’ untouched kickoff at the Brewer 25, Priceville quarterback Will Stevens hit Aaron Sawyer for 18 yards and Allen pushed it in from the 7 for Priceville’s second touchdown. This time Hughes split the uprights to add the PAT and make the score Priceville 13, Brewer 6.
The funny thing about momentum, though, is that it can turn on a dime. Brewer roared back with a 65-yard touchdown by Chris Humphries with 2:05 left to again knot the game at 13-all.
Fans took a little breather between quarters, but the action heated back up as the Patriots took possession on their own 35. Defensive stops by Lonny Sutton and Hutchison kept Brewer out of the end zone temporarily, but Wilson found Childs from 17 yards out with 8:41 left in the second. Ben Maxwell’s PAT pushed Brewer out to a 20-13 margin.
Priceville answered on a 3-yard touchdown plunge by Maxwell at the 3:40 mark. Hughes again split the uprights to knot the game at 20-all.
Brewer threatened late in the second quarter, driving to the Priceville 7 with just six seconds left. Maxwell’s attempted 24-yard field goal was wide left and the teams entered the halftime break tied at 20.
The Bulldogs took the opening second half kickoff at their own 31 yard-line and promptly marched 69 yards in seven plays to take the lead. Stevens found Hughes for 35 yards and connected with Hutchinson for 27 more to set up Allen’s 3-yard touchdown. Hughes’ PAT gave Priceville at 27-20 lead with just two-and-a-half minutes gone in the third quarter.
The Bulldog defense took it from there. Sutton picked off a Wilson pass attempt to thwart a Patriot drive as the fourth quarter started.
Then midway through the final period, Brewer drove to the Priceville 4-yard-line to set up a first-and-goal opportunity.
Will “Big Country” Halbrooks denied Cody Maples on the first carry. Hutchison turned away Travis Campbell on second-and-goal. Wilson’s pass to Childs fell incomplete on third down and Heath Parker sacked Wilson on fourth-and-goal to end the scoring threat.
The game wasn’t quite over, however. The Patriots rallied again late in the fourth, pushing the ball across midfield with less than a minute remaining. Halbrooks turned in a huge sack, but Wilson scrambled on fourth-and-10 to keep the Patriots alive.
The Bulldogs held on four consecutive downs to take possession. Stevens dropped to his knee to run the clock out and a river of Gatorade began flowing freely over members of the Priceville coaching staff as the Bulldogs celebrated a huge win for the program.
Maxwell was the leading rusher for Priceville, picking up 100 yards on 15 carries. Allen added 53 yards on 13 carries. Stevens was 9-of-17 passing for 140 yards. Sawyer had three catches for 50 yards. Hutchison’s three catches netted 47 yards and Hughes added one reception for 35 yards.
For Brewer, the ground attack churned out 98 yards on 36 carries while Wilson completed 11 passes for 150 yards with one interception.
Priceville hosts East Limestone Friday night at 7 p.m. for its first Class 4A Region 7 contest. Brewer hosts Russellville in a Class 5A Region 8 showdown.