Game Of The Week Preview Week 7 Sipsey Valley At Aca

On a stormy night in Tuscaloosa, it wasn’t clear who struck quicker – the lightning that prevented the game from kicking off for nearly an hour, or the American Christian Academy Patriots, who scored three touchdowns before four minutes had passed in the first quarter.

After jumping out to a 34-0 lead in the first quarter, the Patriots cruised to a 58-7 home victory over region opponent Sipsey Valley on Friday night.

While rain soaked the field and the fans huddled under umbrellas in the stands, the weather didn’t dampen the Patriots’ quick-strike offense. The Patriots zipped out of the gates, scoring on a 42-yard run by Scooter Graham on their first possession.

“It can zap you a little bit,” American Christian Academy coach Chris Smelley said of the 57-minute rain delay. “But we’ve got a veteran group who has been through a lot and set some really high goals. I didn’t think that [the delay]would phase us too much. We already did that one time this year where we didn’t start a game until 10:30 – the first game of the year in Montgomery.”

The Patriots offensive wasn’t the only unit to get off to a swift start. American Christian scored again just 13 seconds later when defensive back Kamari Lassiter picked off a Sipsey Valley pass and returned it for a touchdown. The deluge of points didn’t stop there. Patriots quarterback Lawson Pratt threw a 22-yard pass to speedy wide receiver Sawyer Deerman on their very next drive.

American Christian continued to dominate offensively and defensively for the rest of the half. Fueled by prolific performances from Pratt and Graham, who combined to score six touchdowns in the first two quarters, the Patriots led 48-0 at half. The American Christian defense limited Sipsey Valley to a measly 38 total yards before the break, collecting two interceptions and a forcing a safety in the process.

“Our defense played lights out,” Smelley said. “They’ve been really good all season long. They take a lot of pride in playing physical, in really shutting guys down and making big plays and it was great to see them score two different times tonight.”

Sipsey Valley finally broke through with just seconds left in the third quarter. Quarterback Cooper Bailey launched a deep, arching pass to wide out Joseph Long, who outran several trailing defenders for a 78-yard touchdown.

With the win, American Christian improved to 8-0 on the season. The Patriots will host Greensboro on Friday. Sipsey Valley dropped to 3-4 with the loss and will travel to Montevallo next week.

Despite putting together a stellar performance, Smelley and his team are already looking forward to preparing to face Greensboro.

“Next week is going to be more of the same, we’re just going to come back to work on Monday,” Smelley said. “They’re a super hungry group. They want to be coached. They want to be pushed hard and I’m going to enjoy this ride with them because it’s a great group to be around and a great group of young men.”

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