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Glenwood comes up short in AAA state championship game

Glenwood comes up short in AAA state championship game

Glenwood School vs. Bessemer Academy AISA Class AAA high school football state champion

Glenwood running back Kye Robichaux (7) is tackled by numerous defenders while carrying the ball during the Glenwood School vs. Bessemer Academy AISA Class AAA high school football state champion game in Troy on Friday.

TROY – After falling to Bessemer Academy 44-15 in the regular season, the Glenwood Gators got a second shot at the Rebels in Friday’s AISA Class AAA title game. Unfortunately for the Gators, the second time around was no more pleasant than the first.

Glenwood had no answer against Bessemer on Friday, as the Rebels turned two back-to-back touchdowns at the end of the first quarter into the start of a dominant 49-22 victory. The Gators struggled mightily to move the ball before the Rebels pulled away, as Glenwood had just 47 first-half yards and was forced into three-and-outs four times in its first six drives.

PHOTO GALLERY: See pictures from the Glenwood vs. Bessemer Academy game in a gallery at the end of this story. 

Bessemer’s win gives the Rebels their eighth state championship in program history and the third in the last five seasons.

"We had just played really poorly on offense in the first half. We gave them a fumble and a fumble (return) touchdown, and we gave them a punt return to the 10. I just felt like we played championship defense, but offensively we struggled," Glenwood head coach Jason Gibson said. "Bessemer is a great team, and coach (Josh) Wright is a great coach. You can't take anything away from them. We knew it would be a tough game. I expected a different outcome, but it wasn't our day."

Glenwood (9-4, 2-2) held its own against Bessemer (11-3, 3-1) early until the Rebels delivered two big blows in a span of 13 seconds of each other.

The Gators punted from their own end zone late in the first quarter and could do little to stop Bessemer return man Jarvis Dancy, who caught the ball on the Glenwood 34-yard line and raced 27 yards downfield. On the next play, Bessemer running back Josh McMillon took off to his right and somehow kept his balance to cross the goal line for a seven-yard rushing touchdown.

McMillon’s score put the Rebels up 7-0 with 13 seconds left in the opening quarter. Shortly thereafter, Bessemer’s defense struck for points of its own.

On Glenwood’s first offensive play after McMillon’s touchdown, the Rebels forced the ball out of the Gators’ grip and sent it bouncing toward defensive lineman Lebbeus Overton. Overton quickly scooped the ball up and dove across the goal line for an eight-yard fumble return touchdown.

Within 13 seconds of game time, Glenwood went from tied to trailing by two touchdowns. The situation didn’t get any better for the Gators in the second quarter.

Glenwood pieced together a few promising drives behind the efforts of running back Kye Robichaux, but the farthest the Gators could get into Bessemer territory was the Rebels’ 35-yard line. Bessemer added another score in the final seconds of the first half when Chris Pickens crossed the goal line on a one-yard run to leave the Gators in a 21-0 hole.

Robichaux ended the night with 16 carries for 49 yards in the loss.

The Rebels continued to generate big plays on offense in the second half. Bessemer started the third quarter with the ball and wasted no time scoring again, as quarterback P.J. McDonald took the snap, faked a hand-off and fired downfield to Josh McFarland for a 64-yard touchdown pass.

The McDonald-to-McFarland connection made it a 28-0 contest with 10:21 to go in the third quarter.

To Glenwood’s credit, the Gators went down swinging in the second half. It started when Glenwood answered McDonald’s long touchdown pass with its best drive of the night.

Gators quarterback Bryce Newman led the Gators down the field before taking a hit on a third-down scramble that briefly sent him out of the game. Glenwood running back Darryl Monn took care of business with Newman sidelined, taking a hand-off to the left and scurrying up the field for a 14-yard touchdown run.

Monn ended the game with six carries for 25 yards and two touchdowns.

Monn’s touchdown was the start of several quick scores between the two teams. McDonald came through with another deep pass that was on point, this one to Jacob Barry for a 68-yard score to make it a 35-7 contest with 4:16 left in the third quarter.

The Gators answered with some trickeration on their next drive, as Marco Dominquez acted like he was running off the field, paused at the last second, caught a pass from Newman near the sideline then raced downfield for a 44-yard touchdown reception. Dominquez’s touchdown made it a 35-14 game with 1:55 remaining until the fourth.

Newman ended the night 10-of-22 passing for 124 yards and one touchdown and an interception and also rushed 12 times for 81 yards.

"That was pretty good. I liked that. We really didn't think we were out of it," Gibson said of the second-half surge on offense. "In the second half, we kind of kicked it into high gear a little bit a little too late."

McMillon answered with his second rushing touchdown in the final seconds of the third. Monn managed one more rushing touchdown — this on a four-yard run — nearly midway through the fourth quarter on what was the Gators’ final scoring drive.

The Rebels tacked on one more touchdown for good measure on Jarvis Dancy’s 32-yard run before the game clock finally expired.

The loss understandably stung for Gibson and his players, and the group spent the minutes immediately afterward consoling each other and telling everyone to hold their heads up. Friday might have served as an unsatisfying ending, but Gibson emphasized that it didn’t overshadow everything his team accomplished in 2019.

“We did a lot of good things this year. We did a lot of things that validate what we do at Glenwood. Glenwood's such a good program with every sport. Every sport somehow, some way figures out a way to play for a state championship,” Gibson said. “I'm just glad football is picking up our end and holding up our part of it.”

Bessemer Academy 49, Glenwood 22

GLE — 0 0 14 8 - 22

BES — 14 7 21 7 - 49

1st Quarter

BES — Josh McMillon 7-yard run (XP good), 0:13

BES — Lebbeus Overton 8-yard fumble return (XP good), 0:00

2nd Quarter

BES — Chris Pickens 1-yard run (XP good), 0:14

3rd Quarter

BES — Josh McFarland 64-yard reception from P.J. McDonald (XP good), 10:21

GLE — Darryl Monn 14-yard run (XP good), 5:21

BES — Jacob Barry 68-yard reception from McDonald (XP good), 4:16

GLE — Marco Dominquez 44-yard reception from Bryce Newman (XP good), 3:22

BES — McMillon 9-yard run (XP good), 0:16

4th Quarter

GLE — Monn 4-yard run (2-point good), 7:30

BES — Jarvis Dancy 32-yard run (XP good), 4:10

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