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The American Christian Academy Patriots defeated the Munford Lions 16-13 in the first round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association's 4A State Playoffs in a come-from-behind thriller.

"Man, it was awesome. It was a lot of fun. Hats off to Munford, they played such a good game. Coach Easley had them going and it was a great game. Glad we could pull it out," said American Christian Academy head coach Cody Martin.

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Munford got on the board first after forcing a Patriots punt. Quarterback/punt returner Sylvester Smith led the opening drive with a punt returned into the red zone and two runs for five yards on offense. The drive was capped off by a 29-yard field goal by kicker Dakota Frank.

The Patriots tied up the game on their fourth drive of the evening with a 25-yard kick from DJ Daly.

The Lions regained the lead on a 12-play, 79 yard drive that ended with a 36-yard field goal as time expired to lead 6-3 heading into the break.

Both teams punted a combined six times in the first half.

The American Christian Academy defense forced a Lions punt on the opening drive of the second half. Wide receiver Davis Dare led the Patriots possession with a 47-yard run and a three-yard touchdown catch on the following snap to give the Patriots the 10-6 lead.

The Lions retook the lead on their third drive of the half. Smith had 28 rushing yards and capped off the possession with a nine-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Javion White. Munford led 13-10 with 9:59 left to go in the game.

American Christian Academy got the ball back late in the fourth quarter and drove 67 yards down the field. Wide receiver Eric Hines caught the 16-yard pass from quarterback Carson Sute to take the lead. A blocked extra point gave the Patriots a 16-13 lead with 55 seconds left in the game.

"They both bring so much to the table. At the end of the day, our decision was he's a senior, let him go out in a blaze of glory. You know, so put the team on his back and he did great," said Martin on Sute.

Munford had one more opportunity to get a score but defensive lineman Cade Durrett picked of Smith on the first snap of the possession to seal the victory for American Christian Academy.

"Our kids have shown great character all year long, so that doesn't surprise me tonight. Things didn't go our way, you know, we came up a few plays short here and there, but our kids fought, they played with character and that's what we preach and that's what we're about. I'm extremely proud of them," said Munford head coach Michael Easley.

The American Christian Academy Patriots will host the Andalusia Bulldogs on Friday, November 11, 2022. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CT.

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Munford @ ACA

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