Three-peat for Maplesville

Maplesville won its third straight Class 1A state football title. (Photos by Brandon Sumrall/Special)

Maplesville won its third straight Class 1A state football title. (Photos by Brandon Sumrall/Special)

The Maplesville Red Devils made it three in a row state titles and secured its place as a dynasty with a 40-12 victory over Pickens County during the Class 1A Championship on Thursday at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn.

A large Maplesville contingent was on hand to witness the historic game, as was the case in previous years.

It was a promising opening drive for the Red Devils, who drove down the field with ease behind tough running from Terence Dunlap, in his final game in a Maplesville uniform.

“We set these goals in the preseason,” Dunlap said. “We knew that if every one stayed ‘all in’, we could go far.”

However, a drive that reached the 4-yard line was stalled by an errant snap and a promising possession resulted in a turnover on downs and no points.

The first quarter ended in a scoreless tie.

The defense shut out Pickens County in the first half including a pair of three-and-outs.

Maplesville led at 6-0 at halftime following a Dunlap touchdown run from a yard out to cap a 12-play drive that went 56 yards. The extra point sailed wide left.

The score was set up two plays prior, as Dunlap hauled in a screen pass from Brent Schoener and followed his blockers down to the 4-yard line.

The pace picked up in the second half, as Maplesville scored 34 points and turned the game into a shootout of sorts.

“They played with a lot of heart and came out in the second half knowing what they needed to do,” Maplesville head coach Brent Hubbert said.

Maplesville players douse head coach Brent Hubbert with a cooler of ice water as time runs out in the game.

Maplesville players douse head coach Brent Hubbert with a cooler of ice water as time runs out in the game.

For Maplesville, it was the defense that provided the spark with an interception by Dunlap that was returned 27 yards to the Pickens County 28-yard line.

Kevin Mims took advantage of the good field position and somersaulted his way into the end zone for a 2-yard score just two plays later.

Jakavian Mckenzie intercepted a pass over the middle of the field and returned it 62 yards, setting up the Red Devils with prime field position once again.

Dunlap scored his second touchdown and Maplesville extended the lead 20-0 midway through the third quarter.

Pickens County responded with consecutive scores on an 84-yard kickoff return and a 39-yard interception return to cut the Maplesville lead to 20-12.

However, the offense could not manufacture points other than those two big plays against the Red Devil defense.

Watson, Dunlap and Schoener each scored rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter of 11, 1 and 2 yards respectively to put the game out of reach.

As the game continued, Maplesville’s ground game eventually wore down the front seven of Pickens County and secured a place in Alabama high school football history.

“Everyone proved to be a team player,” Dunlap said. “We all play fast, physical and love to hit.”

Dunlap was named championship game MVP for the third straight year. He finished with a title game record 38 carries for 194 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, while also leading the team with 51 yards receiving.

 

 

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