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MHS limits Brantley, loses close one

The Maplesville Red Devils lost a 21-19 nail-biter to the Brantley Bulldogs in the third round of the AHSAA Class 1A football playoffs on Nov. 20.

The stars of the night for Maplesville were on the defensive side of the ball, as the Red Devils proved well equipped to handle Brantley’s high-powered attack, which had averaged an astronomical 54 points per game.

Maplesville held them well below their season average and it was a team effort that got the job done.

Linebackers Johnathan McKinnon and Taylor Sheffield tied for the team lead with seven tackles, while Timber Lenoir and Jacob Johnson continually created havoc along the defensive front.

Lenoir finished with two sacks and a tackle for loss and Johnson also had a sack and a tackle for loss.

Jackson Abbott intercepted a pass and combined with Jakavian Jackson and Caleb Hobbs for 16 tackles in the secondary.

Brantley hit a pair of touchdown passes, including a 56-yarder that gave the Bulldogs a two-score lead early on.

However, the defense settled down and Maplesville’s offense got going and answered with two second quarter touchdowns of their own.

Abbott capped a drive with a seven-yard touchdown run to get the Red Devils on the scoreboard midway through the second quarter.

He followed it up with a 22-yard scoring strike to Steven Gray with 10 seconds left in the first half.

The Red Devils trailed 14-13 heading into halftime and had essentially evaporated Brantley’s early lead.

The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, and the defenses tightened up even more in the final quarter of play.

Abbott completed 12 of 24 passes on the night for 129 yards and one interception to go with his two scores.

As Maplesville had done all season, they spread the ball around in the passing game as Gray, Hobbs and Latrell Wilson each caught three balls in the contest.

Brady Harrison had a productive game in the backfield with 81 yards on 16 carries and 19 yards on two receptions.

The Red Devils finished 10-3 on the season.