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Crisp County holds off Albany High for key Region 1-AAAA win

Crisp County running back Jarkevious Glover rushes the ball Thursday night at Hugh Mills Stadium in a matchup against Region 1-AAAA rival Albany High. (Staff photo: John Millikan)

Crisp County running back Jarkevious Glover rushes the ball Thursday night at Hugh Mills Stadium in a matchup against Region 1-AAAA rival Albany High. (Staff photo: John Millikan)

ALBANY — It was Halloween at Hugh Mills Stadium Thursday night and Albany High tried its best to scare Crisp County.

They did just that - for three quarters at least.

The Cougars scored two quick touchdowns then held on for a 21-6 victory in a game that was closer than the score indicated.

Crisp County (5-4, 3-3 Region 1-AAAA) will now look ahead to next Friday when it plays host to Americus-Sumter in its regular-season finale. If the Panthers beat Dougherty tonight, the game between the two next weekend will be a winner-take-all, with the winner earning the fourth and final seed from Region 1-AAAA. The loser will be left out.

It wasn’t until quarterback Witt Campbell hit Eddie Morgan on a 41-yard touchdown strike with 46 seconds left in the third quarter that Crisp had breathing room.

“I don’t know … maybe,” Crisp County coach Lee Campbell said when a reporter asked him if his team may have been looking ahead to next week.

Albany High (2-7, 1-4) dug itself in too deep of a hole to start the game. After Crisp County’s Jamie White scored on a 2-yard run on the Cougars’ opening possession, they led 7-0 with 5:12 left.

On the Indians’ first play from scrimmage, an errant snapped sailed over Malik Dungee’s head and the Cougars’ recovered at Albany High’s 7-yard line. A play later, Campbell hit Morgan on a 7-yard touchdown strike and Crisp led 14-0.

It was a frustrating night for Albany coach Felton Williams, who said his defense played well enough to give his Indians a chance to win.

“We spotted them 14 points and we never recovered,” Williams said. “Turnovers will kill you every time. The way our defense was playing tonight, we had to help them out.”

Albany’s defense did keep itself in the game and kept the contest from becoming a rout. Early in the second with Crisp threatening to take a three-touchdown lead, Willie Davis intercepted a Cougar pass in the endzone to halt a potential scoring drive. Then late in the first half with the Cougars facing fourth-and-goal from the Indian 1, Albany stopped Jarkevious Glover for a 2-yard loss, stopping another threat.

The Indians could not overcome three lost fumbles in the first half, one leading directly to a Crisp County score. Then midway through the fourth, Albany lost its fourth fumble. With it, the Indians’ chances of an upset were derailed.

“I was pleased with our effort with the exception of the turnovers,” Williams said. “The team never quit. Our record will never depict the true character of this team.”

Crisp led 14-0 at the half, but Albany crammed the ball down the Cougars’ throat to open the third quarter, using an eight-play, 53-yard scoring drive to cut the deficit to 14-6 on Malik Mathis’ 3-yard run. But Crisp’s Jarvis Lavant batted away Mathis’s pass attempt on the 2-point conversion attempt. That was as close as the Indians could get.

“I felt like we missed some opportunities on the goal line, then in the endzone (in the first half),” Campbell said. “We are still missing a lot of players, but I thought our guys battled well.”