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Devils oh so close

Maplesville’s valiant effort against Class 2A No. 6 American Christian came up one point short as the Red Devils fell 34-33.

Red Devil coach Brent Hubbert said his team matured this week.

“I’m about as proud as I can possibly be after a loss,” he said. “We grew up tonight. Young guys stepped up and made some big plays. We learned how to play in a big game.”

Things didn’t look so good early as Harrison Pollard hooked up with Steadman Shealy, son of the great Alabama player by the same name, for scoring plays of 55 and 6 yards to build a 14-0 lead.

Hunter McCay put the Red Devils on his back and tied the game up on touchdown runs of 13 and 35 yards. The last one came on a 4th-and-4 play.

The Patriots scored on a controversial touchdown with 1:43 left in the first half on Pollard’s tip-drill touchdown reception to Davis Sparks covering 35 yards. Maplesville fans and coaches believed Sparks was out of bounds, but the official ruled he was in bounds.

On the final play of the first half, Brian Bailey laid out for a 33-yard Matt Hamner pass in the end zone for a touchdown, tying the game at 21 at the break.

The Red Devils then took the lead on the first drive of the second half on McCay’s 1-yard touchdown run. The extra point sailed wide left, leaving the Devils with a 27-21 lead.

The Pats retook the lead on Daniel O Quinn’s 4-yard TD run and Blake Brenton’s extra point.

No one scored again until the 7:13 mark of the fourth quarter. ACA’s Brandon Gottfried, son of Alabama basketball coach Mark Gottfried, intercepted a Maplesville pass and returned it 70 yards. The extra point failed making the score 34-27.

Chris Bailey gave the Red Devils a chance on his 37-yard run to the ACA 16, but they were held on fourth down. Fortunately, Cameron Morrow bailed the Red Devils out by intercepting an ACA pass.

Hamner and Brian Bailey hooked up for a 16-yard touchdown to pull within a point, but the extra point sailed wide left.

Pollard sealed the win with an interception with 2:22 remaining, and the Patriots ran out the clock.

McCay led the Red Devils with 200 yards on 25 carries and 100 return yards. Chris Bailey had 55 yards on six carries while Brian Bailey had three catches for 70 yards. Hamner finished 9-of-16 for 134 yards.

Maplesville finished the night with 412 yards of offense. The Red Devils will host Loachapoka next week in the first round of the playoffs.