The UA Early Program UTV 44 Game of the Week wrapped up the 2016 season with the 4th round of the state high school football playoffs with the 3A semifinals match-up between the Gordo Green Wave and the Mobile Christian Leopards. Gordo is returning to the semi-finals two years in a row, losing to Bayside Academy in 2015 with the Leopards making their first ever trip to the semi’s. The winner of this game will head to Auburn for the chance to play for the state title in 3A.
Mobile Christian would get the ball first to start the game and only took one play to jump on top. Senior quarterback Cam Horne dumped a pass off to sophomore receiver Eric Poellnitz who then turned it into a 61-yard touchdown play. The PAT was good and the Leopards took the early 7-0 lead.
After forcing the Green Wave to punt after three plays, the Leopards got the ball back and didn’t wait long to get the offense going. Horne found Poellnitz again, for a 31-yard reception to get down the Gordo 36-yard line. The Leopards would stall and were forced to attempt a 37-yard field goal by kicker Beau Horn. The field goal was no good and Mobile Christian still had a 7-0 lead over the Green Wave halfway through the 1st quarter.
On the Leopards next possession, Horne had the offense driving again to try and extend the lead. Inside the Gordo five-yard line, senior running back and Arizona commit Troy Young took the hand-off from Horne but was stripped by senior defensive lineman Lee Williams.
Late in the 2nd quarter, Gordo’s offense was stopped once again by the Leopards, the Green Wave lined up for a punt but the punter Thomas Langdon took the snap and threw a 38-yard pass to senior Kevionte Sherron to pick up the 1st down. The Green Wave drove all the way down to inside the Leopards 10-yard line. Facing a fourth and goal, senior quarterback Koy Chapman found junior receiver Xavier Lanier for a 7-yard touchdown catch. The PAT was good and the score was tied 7-7 with just over two minutes left in the 1st half. That score would hold going into halftime.
Gordo would get the ball to start the second half and Chapman had the Green Wave offense driving behind the running of junior running back Collin Herring. Gordo had driven down to inside the Leopards 20-yard line. Chapman attempted a pass into the end zone but was picked off by senior defensive back Ben Coleman.
The Mobile Christian offense would flip the field quickly after the turnover when Horne found sophomore running back Cam Alexander for a 48-yard reception to get down to the Gordo 28-yard line. Alexander would cap the 80-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good and Mobile Christian took a 14-7 lead over Gordo with just over eight minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
On the next possession, Gordo looked to even the score up. Chapman found Lanier for 30-yard reception to get the Green Wave into a scoring position. Again Gordo leaned on the running of Herring and he led them to the end zone from 20 yards out. The PAT was good and the score was tied again, this time 14-14 with just over three minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
Mobile Christian would get the ball following the score, but the offense was shut down and forced to punt. Gordo’s returner Sherron muffed the punt and the Leopard would recover the ball. Two plays later Horne found Alexander for his second touchdown on the night. Alexander had 4 receptions for 91 yards and 1 touchdown along with his one rushing touchdown. The PAT was good and the Leopards took the 21-14 lead with just over eleven minutes left in the game.
Gordo looking to again tie the game up got some help on their next possession. A long pass by Chapman was incomplete, but Mobile Christian was called for defensive pass interference. The Green Wave were stopped by Mobile Christian and were facing a 4th down with seven yards to go. Chapman dropped back and threw a pass to senior running back Pat Manning, but the pass fell incomplete and Gordo would turn the ball over on downs.
Gordo would get another shot at tying the score up, and with just over two minutes left in the game, the Green Wave got more help from the Leopards. Troy Young was called for pass interference and the ball was moved the Leopards 34-yard line. Chapman again was looking for the end zone when Coleman would intercept his second pass again in the end zone. The pass was intended for Manning.
Looking the run out just run out the clock, Horne dumped a short pass to Young who ripped off a 75-yard touchdown catch. The catch was called back due to an illegal man down field against Mobile Christian.
The Leopards would eventually run the clock out to earn the 21-14 victory over Gordo ad the trip the Auburn for the 3A state championship.
Gordo finishes the season at 13-1, and for the second straight year they end their season against the in the semifinals against a team from the coast.
Mobile Christian improves to 12-1, and will make their first ever trip the finals since moving to the AHSAA in 2002. The Leopards will face the defending 3A state champs Piedmont following their 53-26 win over Ohatchee.
The UTV44 High School Game of the Week will return for the 2017 high school football season.