Road warriors — Isabella beats St. Luke’s in first round

Published 11:29 am Friday, November 10, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Isabella High School had no problem handling the three-and-a-half-hour bus ride to St. Luke’s Episcopal School in Mobile winning 44-17 in the first round of the AHSAA Class 2A State Playoffs on Nov. 9.

The Mustangs left around noon to make the trek to Mobile, but the 200-mile journey was handled well and Isabella won a playoff game for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

“Anytime you have to go on the road, especially that far, you worry about a lot of stuff,” Isabella head coach Tate Leonard said. “We had a great week of practice, and they did really well and handled it well. I was super proud of them.”

Isabella threw only two passes the entire game and utilized seven different ball carriers to pile up 368 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground. Quarterback Eli Kendrick led the way with 139 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

After St. Luke’s held a 3-0 lead after the first quarter, Jediah Works put Isabella in front with a nine-yard touchdown run. Dre’Von Lee broke off a 41-yard touchdown run to extend the Mustangs lead. Lee had 117 yards rushing on five carries.

St. Luke’s posted its first touchdown later in the second quarter, but the first of Kendrick’s touchdown runs, a 61-yarder, capped the first half for Isabella at 21-10.

Kendrick added touchdown runs of 18 and six yards in the third quarter, and Works got in from 16 yards for his second touchdown to put the game away with a 43-10 cushion. Works ran for 74 yards on 10 carries.

“Fortunately, we have been here a few times (in the second round) and we know what to expect,” Leonard said. “We treat every game like it is a big game, so it does not change much for us.”

Isabella will host in the second round if Cottonwood High School wins its first-round game against Luverne High School on Nov. 10. The Mustangs will travel to Luverne if they defeat Cottonwood. Regardless of the opponent, Isabella’s second-round playoff game will be on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m.