HUNTSVILLE — Albertville senior Jacob Dendy rushed for three touchdowns and scored a fourth TD on a pick-six, propelling the Aggies to a 24-20 triumph over Lee-Huntsville in a rare Friday afternoon game for the Aggies.
Dendy rushed 23 times for 151 yards in the pivotal Class 6A, Region 8 game at Milton Frank Stadium. The Aggies improved to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the region standings while Lee slipped to 2-5, 1-3.
If Mae Jemison defeats Albertville and Lee downs Buckhorn on Oct. 19, the three teams would all finish with 2-3 region records and tiebreakers would determine the two postseason qualifiers. Lee knocked off Mae Jemison earlier in the season.
The Aggies earn the No. 3 seed if they beat Mae Jemison on homecoming.
“It’s a big game next week,” AHS head coach Dale Pruitt said. “We don’t have anything left but big games.”
Dendy raced 31 yards to the 3-yard line on the second play of the fourth quarter, setting up his 3-yard scoring run that made it 24-0 with 11:28 remaining in the game.
Albertville missed the extra point, setting the stage for other special teams mistakes to follow in the fourth period.
The Generals responded by forcing a wild finish, scoring 20 points in the final 9:29.
Ke’Mari Artis’ 41-yard kickoff return put the ball on Albertville’s 44-yard line. A’Varius Lewis carried on four consecutive plays, the final one for 15 yards and a touchdown at the 9:29 mark.
Starsky Davis and Noah Groves combined to hit quarterback Samir Allen on the two-point conversion try, forcing a fumble.
Albertville muffed the onside kick and Lee’s Farandis Massey recovered at midfield.
“We had the ball and dropped it when they hit us,” Pruitt said.
Allen passed to Christopher Reid for 32 yards. He made a leaping catch between two Aggies at the AHS 15.
On fourth-and-14 from the 19, Allen hit Lewis in the middle of the field. He juked the Aggie secondary and dashed to the end zone with 7:26 remaining.
Reid ran for two points, trimming Albertville’s margin to 24-14.
The Aggies picked up one first down before a chop-block penalty stalled their drive and forced a punt.
Lee took over at its 20 with 3:22 remaining and marched 80 yards in 11 plays.
Allen had 17-yard completions to Lewis and Da’Zarius Burks II, and the Generals gained a first down at the AHS 21 following a holding call against the Aggies.
Allen fired a 21-yard touchdown pass to Reid on a fourth-and-10 call with 5.7 seconds left, slicing it to 24-20. Cade Boman stopped Reid on the two-point conversion run, and he followed by recovering the onside kick with 4.6 seconds to go.
Allen finished 8-of-19 passing for 128 yards. Lewis rushed six times for 47 yards and caught three passes for 45 yards.
Burks gained 44 yards on eight carries, and Reid had three receptions for 59 yards.
Dendy’s defensive gem gave the Aggies a 6-0 lead, as he picked off a pass on Lee’s first offensive snap and sprinted 48 yards for a TD at the 9:14 mark of the opening period. AHS missed the extra point.
Fifteen yards in penalties forced Lee to punt from its 14 on the ensuing possession.
Dendy broke free for a 40-yard gain to the 1 on first down, and he scored from there with 7:15 to go. Reid sacked Isaiah Pankey on the two-point conversion try.
Pankey, a senior, made his first start at quarterback this season, replacing Ben Allen, who saw playing time at receiver.
Albertville’s first series of the second period started at midfield. The running of Damion Douglas, Dawson Amos and Dendy powered AHS to the end zone.
Dendy ran 5 yards for the score with 6:13 left, extending Albertville’s advantage to 18-0. Lee sacked Pankey on the two-point conversion attempt.
Dakota Shrader returned the kickoff 36 yards to Albertville’s 38, but Dendy smothered the threat by intercepting Allen.
Albertville’s Douglas rushed 12 times for 78 yards. Pankey was 0-for-1 passing.
“When they put 11 up there [on the line of scrimmage] you’ve got to take advantage of it, and right now at the quarterback position we can’t take advantage of it,” Pruitt said. “We’ve got to do a better job.
“Pankey played pretty well. It’s going to be a lot quicker on game day, and it’s going to be a lot quicker when they walk them all up there. If they’ve got nine in the box, you’ve got to take advantage of it.”