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BJHS falls to Fairhope

Fairhope’s Lewis Hunter goes up over Bob Jones’ Zac Warren and Rashad Goode for a touchdown catch in the second quarter.

Following Reggie Ragland’s 17-yard touchdown reception with 44 seconds remaining, it took the Fairhope Pirates just three plays to march 80 yards, as Chase Domino scrambled 7 yards for the come-from-behind score with 17 seconds remaining to push Fairhope past Bob Jones in the Madison Bowl, 26-22.

The game began as dramatic as it finished, with both teams turning over the ball on their opening possessions.

Willie Woodyard picked off a Zach Freeman pass on the Patriots’ first play from scrimmage, but Dez Dennis returned the favor on the next play as he intercepted a Domino pass and returned it inside the 5-yard line.

The Patriots scored three plays later on a screen pass from Freeman to Trai Ragland, but Braden Hager’s extra-point kick hit the left upright to leave the score 6-0.

After trading possessions, the Pirates got on the board with 3:42 left in the opening quarter on a quarterback sneak and went ahead 7-6 following the extra point.

The Patriots controlled the ball on the ensuing possession, but Kevin Wright fumbled on a run up the middle, and Fairhope took advantage as Domino connected with Lewis Hunter for the score. The extra point was blocked, leaving the score 13-6.

Bob Jones also had more special teams miscues in the first half, as the Patriots had a punt blocked and Hager missed a 52-yard field goal as time expired.

Despite the miscues, the Patriots went right to work in the third quarter when Jeffrey Moss connected with Nic Dahlgren for a 2-yard touchdown pass, but once again Hager hit the upright to leave the score 13-12.

“Those special teams miscues would have been the difference in the game,” Bob Jones head coach Kevin Rose said.

After holding the Pirates three-and-out, the Patriots once again hit the end zone as Freeman connected with Yianni Sarris on a 35-yard pass, but the touchdown was called back due to illegal procedure. The Patriots maintained possession, but Xavier Gaddy was stopped on a fourth-and-goal from the 1.

In the fourth quarter, Hager gave the Patriots their first lead since the opening drive on a 22-yard field goal, but the Pirates answered with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game on a 10-yard touchdown run by Woodyard.

Bob Jones would not quit, as Ragland hauled in the go ahead pass, but the Pirates added the late score to seal the win.

“As many bad things happened tonight, our boys kept coming back, and coming back and coming back,” Rose said. “We found out tonight what we already knew: we’re not ready to play and that’s why we wanted to play a caliber opponent like Fairhope.”

The Patriots will face another caliber opponent Aug. 28, as they travel to open the season at Georgia powerhouse North Gwinnett.

The game, which kicks off at 7 p.m. CST, will be broadcast regionally on CSS.

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