Morgan Academy Senators stun Pike Liberal Arts 21-14

Published 11:54 pm Friday, October 20, 2017

By JEROME HAND | For The Selma Times-Journal

Morgan Academy’s scrappy, never-say-die football team is headed to the AISA state playoffs.

The Senators advanced to the playoffs the old fashioned way. They earned it.

Morgan defeated Pike Liberal Arts on the Patriots home field in dramatic fashion 21-14 Friday night.

After a scoreless first quarter, Pike got on the board first on a dazzling 79-yard run by quarterback Reed Jinright. The Patriots missed the extra point and led 6-0 with 4:01 to go before halftime.

Morgan rallied back quickly. Mason Perkins returned the ensuing kickoff 21-yards into Pike territory.

The Senators moved 39 yards in just three plays. Quarterback Peyton Egbert hit Ed Williams for a 13-yard touchdown pass and Cooper McKinney kicked the extra point to give Morgan a 7-6 lead with 2:18 to go in the second quarter.

Morgan’s defense was strong all night, and twice held the Patriots to no points inside the red zone.

Then with 10:34 to go in the third quarter, the defense scored for Morgan. Perkins intercepted a screen pass and rumbled 27-yards to the end zone, breaking tackles and keeping his balance for a pivotal TD.

“The defense brought us through,” said Morgan head coach Josh Thacker. “Mason Perkins’ plays were huge. The kickoff return and the pick six.”

The Senators extended its lead to 21-6 with 2:09 remaining in the third quarter.

McKinney, who applied the pressure on the pick six, recovered a fumble at the Pike 29-yard line.

Morgan’s offense struck fast. Egbert hit Williams again to cover the distance in one play to put the Senators up 21-6.

Egbert was 9 of 15 passing for 153-yards. Williams contributed 64 yards receiving, and Sam Brackin rushed for 129 yards on 23 carries.

“It was an adventure,” said Thacker. “A total team victory, we hit open receivers and stopped them on defense.”

Pike cut Morgan ‘s lead to 21-14 with a TD late in the third quarter and a two-point conversion, but the Senators defense held in the fourth quarter. Britton Adams made a juggling interception at the Morgan seven yard line to turn the Patriots away for the final time with 3:35 to go in the game.

Brackin carried five straight times for crucial first downs and the Senators ran out the clock without giving Pike the ball back.

The Senators improved to 5-4 on the season and into a tie for second in the region with Pike and Fort Dale Academy. All three have identical 3-2 records in region play behind Monroe Academy, who finished 5-0.

Based on AISA tiebreaker procedures, Fort Dale will be the second seed in the region entering the playoffs in two weeks, Pike is third, and the Senators are fourth.

Morgan is on the road again next week for their final game of the regular season. The Senators play Thursday night against top-ranked Autauga Academy.