Sherwood Christian Academy’s Demetrius Reed runs the ball upfield during Friday night’s game against Abbeville Christian. It was the Eagles’ first game as a member of the GICAA. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)
ALBANY — Sherwood Christian’s first steps into the GICAA were shaky on Friday as the Eagles lost in overtime to Abbeville Christian Academy, 20-13, in their first game since moving from the GISA.
Abbeville Christian’s Preston Hancock scored on a 25-yard touchdown run on the first play in overtime, and the Eagles simply couldn’t move the ball downfield on their OT possession and fell in the season opener for both teams.
“When you play a team like Abbeville,” Sherwood coach Otis Covington confidently said, “that was one game away from the state championship last year, you know you have a quality opponent. They know how to win football games. It gives us a big test, to see if we can compete on a level like that. I think tonight proved we can do it, as long as we execute and do the little things well.”
After the strong showing against an even stronger opponent, Sherwood’s Demetrius Reed said he and his teammates showed confidence during the overtime battle.
“We stepped up because lot of people don’t believe in us,” Reed said. “A lot of people think this is the regular old Sherwood; they think we’re just going to lay down and let everybody run over us. That’s not this year. This year, we’re going to come together as a team, as a brotherhood, as a family. We want to shock the entire Southwest Georgia region.
As one of the youngest teams in the GISA last year, Covington and the Eagles endured their share of growing pains in a disappointing campaign. Despite the loss Friday, Covington said the first step in the next chapter was in the right direction.
Sherwood quarterback Chris Thomas had an electric 40-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to tie the game and force overtime, while Reed led the defense with two pass breakups, a tackle for loss, and an interception returned for a touchdown in the first half.
“He has a tremendous motor,” Covington said of Reed. “He practices and plays fast all the time, it just translated directly into the game tonight. He made huge plays that helped keep us in the game. I think he’s going to have a good season going forward.”
Despite making arguably the most impact on the game, Reed stressed accountability about his own conditioning.
“It wasn’t what I wanted,” Reed said. “I feel like I could’ve been a lot better, I could’ve hydrated more. I tried to give 110 percent, but every play was a key moment. I should’ve been on the field every play, making every play I could to get my team back in the game. “
Abbeville Christian racked up 210 yards on the ground, while Sherwood barely cracked the 200 yard mark in total offense.
After a 50-yard kickoff return gave the Generals the ball on the Eagles’ 35-yard line to start the game, Reed broke up a pass from Abbeville quarterback Drey Roach on fourth down to force a turnover on downs. But Abbeville bounced right back on its next possession to take a 7-0 lead with a Roach rushing touchdown.
Reed brought Sherwood to within one point with 8:40 left in the first half with a 93-yard interception return, but a missed PAT allowed Abbeville to hang on to a 7-6 lead.
Abbeville regrouped and pushed the ball down the field before taking a 13-6 lead with 5:50 left in the second half on a John David Willis rushing touchdown.