Rebels lose uphill battle against Highland Home

Published 1:54 am Saturday, September 20, 2014

By Devin Smith

A second-quarter rally from Zion Chapel would not be enough to keep the Highland Home Flying Squadron down on Friday, and the Rebels went down fighting until the end with a score of 28-14.

The Rebels quickly found themselves trailing in the game after Jalen Clayton for Highland Home broke free for a 37-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter.

Zion Chapel was forced to punt, and it took the Flying Squadron just two plays to score again on a pushing their lead to 14-0.

The Flying Squadron would cash in again on the opening play of the second quarter with a 3-yard rushing touchdown to take a commanding 20-0 lead just 13 minutes into the game.

Head coach Bradley Bowers said he knew that his team was in for a long night after a quick start from the Flying Squadron.

“Well we didn’t do ourselves any favors when we came out the first 13 minutes of the game and gave up 20 points,” Bowers said. “We dug ourselves a big hole there. But, before the half we were able to come back out and make it 20-14, and I thought we made some good adjustments.”

The third Highland Home touchdown seemed to awaken the Rebels, and on the ensuing kickoff for Zion Chapel Chris Adair managed to get around the end and scamper up the field for what would be a 57-yard return that later resulted in an 11-yard touchdown run by Adair.

Following the touchdown Zion Chapel found themselves on the receiving end of a Highland Home fumble to give the Rebels great field position at the Flying Squadron 32-yard line. However, the Rebels were unable to make anything of the opportunity and lost possession with a turnover. The Rebel defense came out determined to give their offense at least one more chance to narrow the gap before half and were able to do so, then a short punt put Zion Chapel in a good position on the field with plenty of time to work with.

After almost being forced into a fourth-and-long situation, Highland Home kept the Rebels’ drive alive with a personal foul. Zion Chapel would take advantage of the penalty with another Adair touchdown run. The Rebels finished the half trailing the Flying Squadron by just one touchdown, and moved into the second half with two fumbles from Highland Home.

Zion Chapel was not able to capitalize on the opportunities, but looking into the coming week, Bowers said missed chances on the field would be something the team would work on for the next game and the rest of the season.

“We came out and get three turnovers, but offensively we down inside the 30 and we can’t do anything with it,” Bowers said. “It is hard to win when you do that. That’s something we have to go back on and look at the film on to make some corrections for next week.”

Neither team scored in the third quarter, but early in the fourth quarter Zion Chapel managed to convert on fourth-and-inches in their opponents’ territory to keep their drive alive. The Rebels turned the ball over on fourth and five after Mobley was tackled for a loss.

On the next drive Highland Home made sure to grind out the clock as the game winded down before ending the drive with a the final touchdown for the game from Cole Roper to effectively ending the game at 28-14.

Despite a tough loss Bowers said he was proud of his team’s resiliency after finding themselves facing an uphill battle early at home.

“That’s one thing about our team,” Bowers said. “We have really tried to get our guys to focus on playing each play and then let’s look at the scoreboard when the final horn sounds, and that’s the approach that the guys have adopted and that’s how they play.”

The loss against Highland Home pushed the Rebels 1-4 for the season. The Squadron are now 2-2 with a 2-1 record in region play.

Highland Home will take a week off region play to host local rival Brantley High School next Friday.