LINCOLN -- Reece Solar scored the winning touchdown as time expired to lift Alabama Christian Academy past Lincoln 18-14 in the first round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 4A playoffs on Friday night.
The Eagles will face Hillcrest Evergreen in the second round next week. Alabama Christian overcame a 14-point deficit in the second half.
Lincoln was without starting quarterback Javion Surles, who tore his ACL last week against Montevallo.
Not having their most dynamic playmaker hurt the Golden Bears, especially in the second half. Lincoln committed three turnovers, including one to set up ACA’s game-winning drive.
Lincoln led 14-12 with 7:30 left and seemed to have control as they were driving into ACA territory.
On second-and-6 from the ACA 30-yard line, Cam Reynolds, who replaced Surles at quarterback, fumbled while being taken down for a loss by several ACA defenders.
ACA’s Norman Schlemmer came up with the fumble at the 35 with 3:24 to go.
Solar led the Eagles on a season-saving drive. The senior quarterback rushed for 40 yards on the march, including a 14-yard run to the Lincoln 19.
On third-and-10 at the 19, Jalen Clark took a pitch from Solar, who was rolling out to the left. Clark took the pitch and rolled to the right, then threw the ball back across the field to Solar for a 13-yard gain and first-and-goal.
Lincoln’s defense came up with three stops to force fourth-and-goal at the 1 with four seconds remaining.
After a Lincoln timeout, Solar called his own number on a speed option run to the left side. Solar was hit by a Lincoln defender but was able to reach the ball into the end zone for the game-winning score.
Three to know
- Reynolds was responsible for both of the Lincoln’s touchdowns. The junior intercepted a pass to set up the Golden Bears’ first score. Reynolds connected with Brian Garrett for a 20-yard touchdown. In the third quarter, Reynolds would break free for a 39-yard touchdown run to the lead to 14-0.
- Turnovers were costly for the Golden Bears. Lincoln committed three, which turned into 12 second-half points for ACA.
- Lincoln’s Nick Pope connected on a pair of extra points on Friday become the fifth-leading scorer in state history.
Who said it
-ACA head coach Nate Sanford on the winning play: “In 20 years, this was the first time that my team scored on the last play. That was the last time out that we had, so we called a quarterback sneak. We came out the huddle quick, trying to surprise them, but they called a quick timeout. We didn’t have a backup plan because we didn’t have any timeouts left. We came out and said if we line up the same way again they will pack the box and we will try to run a quick speed option to the outside, and we made it by a foot. It was close and a foot should decide a game like this.”
- Lincoln coach Matt Zedaker on the heartbreaking loss: “We made too many mistakes. That is a good football team, and we knew they were. They hung in there, and we made too many mistakes in a first-round playoff game to come out on the right side. We still gave ourselves a chance to win. We had a chance right there to make a stop, but we fell a couple of inches short. We played hard. I hate that it turned out this way for these seniors and this community. We have nothing to hold our heads down about. We can hold our heads up and chest out for the things that we accomplished this year.”