Marengo Academy wins state title on Lewis field goal

Hayden Huckabee scores the Longhorns first touchdown against Restoration Academy.

Hayden Huckabee scores the Longhorns first touchdown against Restoration Academy.

TROY — Brant Lewis nailed a 31-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to hand Marengo Academy a 31-28 win over Restoration in the AISA Class A state championship game Friday afternoon.

“I was pretty nervous but me and the two Huckabees stay after practice a lot working on the kicking. It’s just more or less a routine kick,” Lewis said, referring to his daily work with his long snapper and holder.

“We had plenty of faith. We’ve been working on his kicking all year and he came through,” Hayden Huckabee said.

The kick was the final play of a drive that started at the Marengo 22 with 2:49 to play and the Longhorns pocketing only one timeout. Marengo (13-0) called five straight run plays to move the their own 40 before Huckabee dropped back to pass.

Ralph Langley (2) attempts to leap over a Restoration Academy defender as David Creel (51) watches the play.

Ralph Langley (2) attempts to leap over a Restoration Academy defender as David Creel (51) watches the play.

Huckabee surveyed the field before scrambling for 28 yards to the Restoration 32. After stopping the clock with a spike, Huckabee hit Cason Cook for an 18-yard pass to set up the game-winning kick.

“Coach asked me if I wanted to run one play in the end zone and then see if we could kick it,” Marengo Academy coach Robby James said. “I said, ‘No sir.’ We’re going to kick it and win it right here. Brant did a great job. He hasn’t kicked but two or three this year, but he has made them.”

Shade Pritchett makes a leaping catch over a Restoration Academy defender.

Shade Pritchett makes a leaping catch over a Restoration Academy defender.

The field goal was the last scoring play in a whirlwind fourth quarter that saw Restoration (11-2) cover 66 yards on seven plays before Courtney Wilbanks scored on an 18-yard run to cut the Marengo lead to 28-26. Rasheed Turner then punched it in on the conversion play to knot the game at 28.

Marengo had previously taken a 28-20 lead with 5:50 to go in the game when Huckabee scored his third touchdown of the day on a three-yard scamper. The drive covered 21 yards and was set up in part by a 52-yard Lewis punt that left Restoration at its own 3.

Restoration scored its first points of the second half with 11:25 to go in the fourth when Turner hauled in an 18-yard pass from K.D. Davis on a drive that started with a Matt Johnson interception at the Longhorn 16.

Alston Dinning makes a leaping interception in the end zone against Restoration Academy.

Alston Dinning makes a leaping interception in the end zone against Restoration Academy.

Marengo opened the third quarter scoring with an 81-yard drive that lasted 12 plays and ended with a 1-yard Josh Holifield touchdown run.

Marengo jumped on top early with an eight-play drive that covered 40 yards and ended with a 2-yard Huckabee run. That possession came after Shade Pritchett forced a fumble that found its way to William Tutt just three plays into the contest.

Marengo added to the advantage with 37 seconds to go in the first when Huckabee scored on a 6-yard run to cap an 11-play drive that covered 68 yards and left MA up 14-0.

Restoration would move the ball to the MA 5 before Cole Allen forced a fumble that Hayden Hall recovered.

Thomas Etheridge (62), Cole Allen (64) Shade Pritchett (back) and Hayden Hall (54-right) combine to bring down a Restoration ball carrier.

Thomas Etheridge (62), Cole Allen (64) Shade Pritchett (back) and Hayden Hall (54-right) combine to bring down a Restoration ball carrier.

Restoration answered with a pair of second quarter touchdowns. Davis scored on an 8-yard run to cut it to 14-6. Jerry Orr recovered a Longhorn fumble at the MA 42 with 1:31 to go in the opening half that set up a 45-yard touchdown pass from Davis to Turner. Davis then added the conversion run to leave it tied at 14 going into the locker room.

Huckabee finished his afternoon with 148 yards on 23 carries. Holifield added 88 yards on 22 carries.

Josh Holifield dives for a Longhorn first down against Restoration Academy.

Josh Holifield dives for a Longhorn first down against Restoration Academy.

Turner hauled in five passes for 125 yards. Brendan Williams tallied 109 yards on five catches for Restoration.

Pritchett paced the MA defense with 12 total tackles and a fumble recovery. Alston Dinning had an interception while Carson Huckabee had a sack. Cook and Tutt also combined on a sack.

The title marks the ninth of its kind for James, who last won one in 2000 with Morgan Academy. Marengo last won a state title in 2002.

“I just love it for the kids. You can see it in their eyes. It’s a wonderful feeling for them. They will never forget it,” James said.

The win caps a season in which the Longhorns did not trail for a single second.

Brant Lewis (34) makes the game winning field goal out of the hold of Hayden Huckabee (18) for the Marengo Longhorns victory over Restoration Academy.

Brant Lewis (34) makes the game winning field goal out of the hold of Hayden Huckabee (18) for the Marengo Longhorns victory over Restoration Academy.