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Hooper holds off Rebels

HOPE HULL — Bill Murray woke up to the same day each day in the movie Groundhog Day.

Lowndes Academy's Groundhog Day came Thursday night against rival Hooper Academy in both teams' season opener at Davis Henry Field.

Last year the Rebels had a chance to knock off Hooper in double overtime, but could not get the ball in the end zone and came away with a bitter 13-6 defeat.

This time Lowndes Academy was lined up first-and-goal at the Hooper 1 with 45 seconds left in the game, but shot itself in the foot with a penalty and had one pass dropped in the end zone.

After being backed up by the penalty, Hooper's defense stiffened and came away with a 13-7 victory Thursday night.

"This was just like last year," Lowndes Academy coach Art Sullivan. "We had our chances then just like we did tonight and couldn't get in. We'll try again next year."

Hooper rallied from a 7-0 deficit to scored 13 unanswered in the second half by putting the ball in the air. The Rebels had all but shut down the Colts' running game, so first-year coach John Glasscock decided to take to the air.

"We were just getting a little yardage on the ground (in the first half), so we went with the pass and go after the big play," Glasscock said.

That big play was a 50-yard bomb from quarterback Derrick Young to Blake Kiernan on a simple fly route for what ended up being the game-winning touchdown with 3:44 left in the third quarter.

Young tried to hit Kiernan twice before on the same play, but his attempts were just beyond Kiernan's reach.

Young tied the game with 8:17 left in the third quarter by punching the ball across the goal line from the 1 on a quarterback sneak during the Colts' opening possession of the second half.

The key to keeping the six-play scoring drive was a 37-yard strike by Young to Kiernan.

Lowndes had its opportunities to tie or win the game in the fourth quarter.

The first chance came with less than two minutes in the third quarter when the Rebels recovered a Hooper fumble on its 45.

The Rebels marched down to the Colts 12 before being stalled. Lowndes had one touchdown pass dropped and then a fourth-and-10 pass by Drew Harrell was just too tall for Bradley Adams to pull down.

Lowndes' final chance came with 4:38 left in the game after fielding a Hooper punt at the Rebel 12 yard line. Crucial penalties backed Lowndes up to its 1 yard line to set up the exciting 98-yard march.

The drive was kept alive on a 44-yard tipped pass by Harrell to T.J. Mills on third-and-20. Then Harrell got the Colts to the Hooper 1 on a 20-yard scramble.

Harrell finished the night completing 26 of 32 attempts for 216 yards with no interceptions. Adams was on the receiving end of more than half of Harrell's completions by hauling in 15 strikes for 152 yards.

Lowndes lone touchdown of the game was a 2-yard burst by Eric St. Cin up the gut of the Colts' defense with 32 seconds left in the first quarter.

Lowndes (0-1) opens area play with Lakeside on Friday.