No. 10 Centreville Academy found itself engaged in a close battle with seventh-seeded Greenville Christian School in the first round of the 3A playoffs, but the Tigers outlasted the Saints to win 30-22 on a last-second interception.
The Tigers took the opening kick looking to get started early but fumbled the first play from scrimmage, handing the ball to the Saints deep in their own territory.
Five plays later, Greenville Christian put its first points on the board, scoring on a 30-yard touchdown pass. It added a two-point attempt and take an early 8-0 lead.
Centreville put together a gritty drive, converting twice on fourth down before a holding penalty forced the Tigers into a third-and-long. Quarterback Jaden Morris dropped back in the pocket and found Colby Welch on a post for a 40-yard touchdown pass, and the Tigers were on the board. The two-point conversion was successful, knotting the game at 8 at the end of the first quarter.
The next two possessions for the Saints were unsuccessful as they were forced to punt twice.
The Tigers had to punt once, but on their second possession they established a running game led by running back Kason Clark. He handled most of the load as the Tigers inched closer to the goal line, but it was full back Logan Longmire who took the handoff and rumbled forward for a 16-yard touchdown run. Centreville couldn’t convert the extra point, making it 14-8.
Greenville Christian’s defense gave its offense the spark it needed and the Saints forced another Tigers fumble inside Centreville territory. The Saints took over on the 40 and marched down the field, scoring on a 10-yard pass. The successful point after gave the Saints a 15-14 lead at the half.
The second half was a defensive struggle as Centreville caused chaos in the back field for the Greenville Christian quarterback and the Saints’ defense played tough at the line of scrimmage.
the Tigers forced the Saints to punt late in the third quarter. Caleb Kinabrew received the punt on the Centreville 15-yard line and found daylight, taking the ball up the sideline for an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown. The two-point conversion was successful, pushing the lead for the visitors to 22-15.
After a couple punts by both the Saints and the Tigers, Greenville Christian cahsed-in on yet a third turnover by Centreville as the Saints completed a 25-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-goal. The point after was successful, tying the score at 22 midway through the fourth quarter.
Once again, the defenses for both the Tigers and the Saints would force punts but it was the Tigers’ turn to cash in.
Greenville Christian mishandled a punt deep in its own territory. The Tigers’ offense quickly went to work, scoring on the second play from scrimmage as Welch took the handoff and ran for a 15-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion was successful, and the Tigers climbed back on top with a 30-22 lead.
That lead proved to be all the Tigers needed but it wasn’t until Clark intercepted a pass with no time left on the clock that Centreville could celebrate.
The Tigers will fight on as they travel to Winona, MS to take on the No 2 seed, Winona Christian Friday night in the second round.