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Late touchdown lifts Colbert Heights past Clements in region opener

Kevin Shaw threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Korey Saint with 25 seconds left in the game, helping Colbert Heights remain unbeaten with a thrilling 17-14 win at Clements on Friday in the Class 3A, Region 8 opener for both teams.

The Wildcats (3-0, 1-0 in region play) got another outstanding effort from their defense, which held Clements (1-1, 0-1) to one offensive touchdown on the night. [The Colts scored their other touchdown on a pick-six.] Through three games, the Colbert Heights defense has allowed a total of just two touchdowns.

“Our offense struggled,” head coach Taylor Leathers said after Friday's win, “but our special teams put us in great field position to score our touchdown. We had a drive stall and kicked a field goal, and then we threw a pick-six. But we ended with a two-minute drive and a huge clutch play on the touchdown pass from Kevin to Korey.

“Clements got it back with seventeen seconds left, but our D held on and preserved the win.”

Saint, a senior linebacker, had a huge night on defense in addition to his game-winning touchdown grab. He finished with 10 total tackles and two interceptions. Dylan Chandler, another senior linebacker, led the Wildcats with 12 tackles and a fumble recovery. Bevin Foust, Bud Pratt and Brendan Borden made five tackles apiece.

Colbert Heights scored the first 10 points of the second half to break up a scoreless tie, but Clements rallied to take a 14-10 lead late in the fourth. The Wildcats then answered with the game-winning drive, capped off by the scoring toss from Shaw to Saint.

“We’re very proud of our guys for their resiliency,” Leathers said, “ and being able to make a play when it was needed against a very good Clements team.”

Colbert Heights has now beaten Clements in each of the last four seasons and five straight times overall. The Wildcats will travel to Trinity next week to take on West Morgan (2-1, 0-1), which lost its region opener to Lauderdale County 21-15 on Friday night. Colbert Heights beat West Morgan 42-27 last season, its fourth straight win in the series.

In other Class 3A, Region 8 action on Friday, Colbert County cruised past East Lawrence 63-8 and Lexington pounded Elkmont 47-15.

In other action on Friday night:

Lamar County 54 Phil Campbell 12

Peyton Thomas threw for 284 yards and ran for two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough for the Bobcats in their Class 2A, Region 8 opener at home against Lamar County.

Brandon Baker led Phil Campbell (1-2, 0-1) with 61 yards on two receptions, and senior tight end Brody Nix caught four passes for 59 yards. Seth Brindley had three catches for 58 yards, and Sam Pierce added two receptions for 38 yards. Fullback Imer Ordonez rushed for 25 yards on seven carries, and Thomas ran four times for 21 yards.

The Bobcats finished with 338 yards of total offense.

Nix led the Phil Campbell defense with seven tackles, and Dakota Mansell and Brandon Thomas each had five stops.

The Bobcats will return to region play next week when they travel to Sheffield.

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