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Brantley heads to semis

BY Andrew Edwards

After seven tries, the Brantley Bulldogs defeated the Maplesville Red Devils 21-19 Friday night in the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Class 1A quarterfinals, and secured their place in the semifinals.

The Bulldogs played host at David Lowery Stadium.

While the game was a close one, the Bulldogs maintained the lead the entire ballgame.

Brantley struck first when Tucker Kilcrease found Kenuwyn Dixon for the Bulldogs’ first touchdown of the night. Carson Jones’ extra point was good. The Bulldogs went up 7-0.

Next, Kilcrease found Dequan Pittman and Jones hit the extra point to make it 14-0 Brantley.

Maplesville got on the board, when Jackson Abbott went in for the Red Devils, making the score 14-6.

Next Abbott found Cole Gray for the Red Devils’ next touchdown, and making the score 14-13, Brantley.

Dixon hit the end zone once again putting and Jones’ extra point was good, putting giving the Bulldogs 21.

The Red Devils would score again bringing the score to 21-19, Brantley.

Going into Friday night, the Bulldogs will face a known foe with the Linden Patriots in Linden in the semifinals.

This will be Brantley’s first matchup with the Patriots since a 41-0 defeat in the 2015 quarterfinals of the playoffs.

Brantley head football coach Roland Jones has high respect for his opponent.

“It’s going to be a really tough, physical game like we haven’t seen this year,” said Jones. “They have an extremely fast defense that doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.”

Jones believes the key to victory for his squad is very simple – don’t make mistakes, and continue to be efficient on offense.

“Our wide receivers have to be precise in their route running, and our o-line has to be able to protect Tucker [Brantley QB]. They throw out a lot of exotic blitzes that we need to be able to recognize,” Jones said.

Linden, who is 13-0 and undefeated, has been nearly perfect this season. Brantley, 13-1, has likewise been blowing through their competition. However, Jones believes that the Patriots do have one weakness.

“They are penalized more than most people that we’ve seen this year. That could be their Achilles heel,” Jones said. “If we can get them into some long distance 3rd down situations, then they might be prone to turnovers and other mistakes.”

Jones said the message to his team this week has been a short one.

“Do your job and the rest will follow. We’re probably the only team in the south bracket that can beat them, but we’ll see Friday night,” Jones said.

Brantley travels to Linden to face-off this Friday night at 7 p.m.

The winner of this semi-final game will face either Berry or Pickens County in the 1A State Championship on Dec. 3.