The Tuscaloosa Academy Knights (7-4, 5-0) defeated the Lee-Scott Academy Warriors (8-3, 3-2), 26-13, in the semifinals of the AISA 3A playoffs.

Both teams started off slow which led to a scoreless tie at the end of first quarter.

The Knights struck first on a Patton Turnipseed 36-yard field goal, putting the Knights up 3-0 with 1:34 left in the second quarter. The Knights defense immediately forced a three-out, which gave Tuscaloosa Academy a chance to extend their lead before the half. Turnipseed connected from 30 yards out this time, putting the Knights up 6-0 at halftime.

The Warriors struck first in the second half as QB Tate McKelvey connected with WR Anderson Grimes on a 4-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was no good which tied the game at six with 4:08 left in the third quarter.

Tuscaloosa Academy earned their first touchdown of the game with 3:15 left in the third quarter on a QB Preston Lancaster 25-yard touchdown pass to WR Wilson King, putting the Knights up 12-6.

Lancaster connected with King once again on a 50-yard TD pass with 11:50 left in the fourth quarter, making the score 19-6.

Lancaster finished the game 15-of-19 passing for 266 yards and two touchdowns. King finished the game with nine receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

Knights RB Jordan Evans earned a 50-yard touchdown run to seemingly put the game out of reach, 26-6, with 3:13 left in the fourth quarter. The Warriors pushed one more touchdown through, but it would not be enough as the Knights held on for the big 26-13 semifinal victory.


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“No one gave us a shot when we started this season but these kids believed and the coaching staff did such a wonderful job,” said Tuscaloosa Academy head coach Josh Wright. “I was very proud of our fight tonight.”

The Knights advance to face Pike Liberal Arts in the AISA 3A State Championship game next Friday at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.

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