Playoff action kicked off in the state of Alabama this weekend, and for the Tuscaloosa Academy Knights (5-4, 5-0), that meant a huge victory against the Valiant Cross Warriors (3-4, 1-3) 36-12 – their fourth win in a row.

Valiant Cross received the ball first and was picked off by DB Wilson King. Tuscaloosa Academy got the ball, then drove down the field, scoring on a 30-yard pass to WR Jack Standeffer and putting the first six points on the board. 

The Knights defense dominated out of the gate, forcing a 3-and-out against the Warriors — getting the ball back, driving down the field and scoring the second touchdown of the game, a 3-yard pass to WR Wilson King, extending their lead 13-0. 

Both teams exchanged punts. Then, dual-threat Wilson King took over both sides of the ball, picking off Warriors QB Ni’King Patterson as DB, and scoring as WR on a 38-yard pass to extend the Knights lead 20-0, both his second of the night. 

The momentum pushed Valiant Cross’s way, as Cory Brown ran the ball back for a touchdown, giving the Warriors their first score of the night. The score was set at 20-6 as DB Quintavious Tyus picked off Knights QB David McNeil.

Unfortunately, that’s all the momentum they would get, as QB King fumbled the next drive snap, giving the ball to Tuscaloosa Academy in the red zone, resulting in a 43-yard kick.

This Knight defense wasn’t done with their statement yet, picking off QB King once again, and RB Tyler McNeal scored on a 6-yard run to give the Knights a 31-6 lead into halftime. 

“The kids believe. They started playing hard, we improved each week and continue to improve,” said Tuscaloosa Academy head coach Josh Wright.

Knights QB David McNeal played the first possession out of halftime, then called it a game, finishing his night 9-of-18 with 187 yards (124 passing, 63 rushing), three touchdowns and one interception. 

Backup QB Preston Lancaster entered the game, but Tuscaloosa Academy was scoreless in the second half. 

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The Knights defense kept its dominance, forcing a turnover on downs, a 3-and-out, and one more interception. 

Valiant Cross scored one more time on a 35-yard run by Issac Harris, missing the extra point, scoring 12 total points. 

“Our kids played hard, we had guys make tremendous plays … I was proud of our kids. We didn’t come out the second half like we wanted to but it was one of those situations to get the game sealed,” said Wright. 

Next week, Tuscaloosa Academy hosts the Lee-Scott Warriors (7-2, 3-1). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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