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Devils punch ticket to third straight title game

Maplesville's football team earned a berth in the Class 1A state championship game with Friday's win over Linden. (Photos by Brandon Sumrall)

Maplesville’s football team earned a berth in the Class 1A state championship game with Friday’s win over Linden. (Photos by Brandon Sumrall)

By Brandon Sumrall | Special to the Advertiser

For the third consecutive season, Maplesville has earned a spot in the football Class 1A state championship game.

With a 50-19 win over Linden on Friday night in the semifinal round, host Maplesville secured a trip to the University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium, where they will face Cedar Bluff and try to defend last year’s championship.

The MHS offense wasted little time in setting the pace with a 65-yard scoring drive on its opening possession that was capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by Terance Dunlap.

With John Schoener adding the point-after, the Red Devils led 7-0.

Maplesville's Nathaniel Watson (left) hauls in a pass from quarterback Cole Spencer during Friday's game.

Maplesville’s Nathaniel Watson (left) hauls in a pass from quarterback Cole Spencer during Friday’s game.

A Corey Hall fumble recovery set up the Maplesville offense with its second possession, but the drive ended on a turnover that resulted in a Linden 49-yard scoring drive and a 27-yard touchdown pass from Christopher Robinson to Dequan Charleston to tie the game at 7-all.

The tie wouldn’t last long as the Red Devils scored again on its ensuing possession as Dunlap added his second touchdown of the night on a five-yard carry to make the score 14-7 as the first quarter came to a close.

A Linden punt backed up the Red Devils deep inside their own territory, and a Maplesville turnover set up Linden with first-and-10 at the Red Devils’ 13.

Two plays later, a pass to Charleston was hauled in at the 15, but Charleston back tracked inside his own end zone and was brought down by a host of Red Devil defenders for the safety.

Maplesville went to the halftime break up 16-7.

Midway through the third quarter, Dunlap struck again, this time for 62 yards to put the Red Devils ahead 22-7, but the Patriots answered with a touchdown of their own on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to Jaleel Jones.

With 2:20 left in the third, Maplesville led 23-13.

A nine-yard touchdown carry by Dunlap with 9:24 to play gave Maplesville a 30-13 lead, and with the Red Devil defense stuffing the Patriots on a fourth-and-10 at the Red Devil 14, the Maplesville offense once again went to work.

One play later, Dunlap broke through the Patriot defense for an 86-yard touchdown to extend the Maplesville lead to 37-13 with 8:08 left on the clock.

The Patriots answered the Red Devils’ score with a 68-yard pass from Robinson to Jones to make the score 37-19.

With just 2:45 to play, Dunlap drive the nail into the coffin of the Patriots with his sixth touchdown of the game, this one from two yards out to give Maplesville a 43-19 lead.

If the Patriots weren’t finished off by Dunlap, a 27-yard interception returned for a touchdown by Nathaniel Watson definitely closed the door and began the celebration on the Red Devil sideline.

A last second prayer by the Patriots resulted in an interception by Adam Harrison and further fueled the flames of the Red Devil celebration as the clock now read all zeroes.

“They are ball players. When those lights come on, they come out and they play football.” Maplesville coach Brent Hubbert said. “The play it the way it is supposed to be played. They are in your face, they are aggressive, and they’re tough. You have to love coaching a football team like that.”

Dunlap led the Maplesville ground game with 291 yards and six touchdowns on 22 carries.

The Class 1A state championship game will begin at 3 p.m. Dec. 3 in Tuscaloosa.