DECATUR — Albertville’s first visit to Austin since 1987 was not a good one.
The Black Bears beat the visiting Aggies, 52-21.
Austin scored two touchdowns in the second quarter and two in the first 89 seconds of the third quarter to turn what was a 14-14 game in the second quarter into a rout.
The Austin win coupled with James Clemens’ 13-9 win over Sparkman means the Black Bears can win the Class 7A, Region 4 championship with a win over Bob Jones next Friday.
The win over Albertville (2-6, 1-5) got off to a great start for Austin (7-1, 5-1). It took the Austin defense eight seconds to score a touchdown. Senior defensive back Jaden Baker intercepted a pass and turned it into a pick-six and a 7-0 lead.
The score didn’t seem to rattle Albertville quarterback Ben Allen. He replied by marching his team 64 yards in 13 plays for a tying touchdown. He scrambled around for six pass completions and scored on a 2-yard run.
Austin matched that long drive with a one-play scoring drive. Quarterback Quincy Crittendon hit Tre Shackelford with a quick throw and he raced 58 yard for the touchdown.
Albertville answered with a nine-play, 78-yard scoring drive. Allen connected with Elijah Moss on a 48-yard pass play to tie the game at 14-14.
The visiting Aggies then recovered an onside kick at the Austin 38-yard line. Nine plays later they were at the Austin 12 threatening to take the lead, but Austin linebacker Zmari Bell intercepted a pass and returned it to the 50.
The Black Bears then used a three-play drive to take the lead for good. Jevon Jackson scored on a 22-yard run.
Austin’s defense then changed its pass coverage from a zone to man-to-man. That freed up two linebackers to add to the pass rush. That pretty much hemmed in Allen for the rest of the night. Albertville’s next two drives ended with a punt and another Baker interception.
The Black Bears added a touchdown shortly before halftime on Crittendon’s 10-yard run to make it 28-14 at intermission.
After having just 11 snaps on offense in the first half to 48 for Albertville, the Black Bears were determined to take away any momentum from Albertville.
On the second play of the second half, Crittendon hit Shackelford on a 29-yard touchdown pass. A minute later, it was Crittendon to Shackelford on a 27-yard scoring strike to make it 42-14.
Albertville’s lone second-half score came on an 8-yard run by Allen.
The Aggies face James Clemens on Oct. 23 in their final home game of the season.