“Our defense played lights-out tonight,” said Sylacauga coach Matt Griffith. “We’re banged up with so many injuries, we were rotating freshmen in and out. We had one good drive in the first quarter and a couple in the fourth, but our defense is what kept us in the game.”
Sylacauga took the opening kickoff and scored on the first possession. Hunter Johns passed to Keith Pitts on a 45-yard play to break the drive open, then passed to Matthew Griffitt on a 16-yard play to score. John Shannon kicked from Zach Pearson’s hold for the extra point to give Sylacuaga a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.
But the Tigers defense rallied to hold Sylacauga to just 40 yards total offense for the rest of the first half.
Sylacauga’s defense was just as stingy, holding Chilton County to 58 total yards in the first half, 25 rushing and 33 passing.
The Tigers dominated the third quarter, moving the ball 100 yards while keeping the ball away from Sylacauga. The Aggies had the ball twice, but gave up interceptions both times to the Tigers’ Austin Hatch, who had three interceptions for the night. Sylacauga had possession for less than two minutes in the quarter.
Chilton County mounted a 12-play drive that ended with a 32-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, with Stephen Horn kicking from Braylen Parker’s hold.
Sylacauga then mounted a 13-play drive that stalled at the 2-yard line where the Tigers took over on downs. Unable to make a first down, they punted back to Sylacauga, and the Aggies turned the ball over on downs at the Tigers’ 27-yard line. A heavy rush on Chilton County quarterback Trenton Bishop forced a fumble, with the Aggies’ Tristan Foster recovering at the 18.
From there, Ian Floyd carried for five yards, and Erskin McKinney ran it to the 1-yard line on a 12-yard carry. Floyd scored on a one-yard run up the middle to extend Sylacauga’s lead. The Tigers’ Hatch blocked the PAT, leaving the score at 13-3 with less than a minute left in the game.
Chilton County’s Tyler Henderson returned the ensuing kickoff to the Aggies’ 26-yard line with the Tigers pushing down to the 8-yard line before Sylacauga’s Mason Owen intercepted a Trenton Bishop pass to stop the drive.
“It’s funny how history repeats itself,” Griffith said, referring to last week’s loss to Childersburg and this week’s win. “In 2006, we got beat by Childersburg, the next week we won a region game we really weren’t supposed to win that put us in the playoffs. This one won’t put us in the playoffs, but it’s sure going to help our standing in the Region.
“Our defense played well, and our front played well, and our secondary played lights-out. They had two or three receivers that were really dangerous.”
The Aggies are now 4-2 on the season and 3-1 in the region, with three consecutive region games coming up. Next week, the Aggies host Homewood.
Chilton County is now 3-3 on the season, 2-2 in the Region. The Tigers travel to Briarwood Christian next Friday.