Prattville 21, Gulfport (Miss.) 16: Lions hold on

Prattville 21, Gulfport (Miss.) 16: Lions hold on


Prattville 21, Gulfport (Miss.) 16: Lions hold on


Prattville’s K.J. Lawrence, left, and Jamal Taylor tackle Gulfport’s Jalen Knight on Friday.

Prattville’s K.J. Lawrence, left, and Jamal Taylor tackle Gulfport’s Jalen Knight on Friday.

PRATTVILLE – Prattville came into its matchup with Mississippi foe Gulfport on a huge high after its win over rival Stanhope Elmore last week.

The Lions were brought down to Earth on Friday, but they’re still unbeaten.

Lions linebacker Dytarious Johnson led the Lions with 11 tackles and blocked a punt as Prattville held off Gulfport 21-16 at Stanley-Jensen Stadium on Friday.

Johnson recovered a late onside kick to seal the victory after the Lions gave up 13 fourth-quarter points. Johnson’s blocked punt set up the Lions’ second touchdown, a 36-yard run by running back Kingston Davis to give Prattville a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.

Johnson said after the game that he likes to hit. He definitely showed that on Friday.

“The defense feeds off me so I have to keep playing hard,” Johnson said. “Our offense struggled tonight, but we had to keep working and I had to lead. We have to maintain our focus all game.”

Lions wide receiver Cam Taylor injured his leg on the opening kickoff, a sign of things to come for Prattville (2-0). Taylor returned to the sidelines on crutches late in the second half.

“We had some injury issues that got to us early,” Lions head coach Chad Anderson said. “It was a struggle with personnel after that. We hurt ourselves with penalties and turnovers, but our guys played hard. You’ll have nights like that sometimes.”

Davis finished with 163 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries, but also lost two fumbles. Quarterback Josh Moore threw three interceptions.

The Lions held a 14-3 lead after three quarters, but had to hold off a furious fourth-quarter rally by the Admirals.

In the fourth quarter, receiver Larazzo Shugart ran untouched for a 25-yard touchdown with 10:08 left.

The Admirals converted three fourth downs on their final drive, including a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rhodes Walker to Sean Daniels on fourth-and-goal with 1:09 remaining. DeAnthony Steele deflected Walker’s pass on the ensuing two-point try.

“We had to deal with a lot of adversity tonight,” Steele, who finished with seven tackles, said. “We were going back and forth with the turnovers, but we came up big and got the victory.”

Defensive back Jamal Taylor also had 11 tackles, and linebacker K.J. Lawrence had nine. J.T. Thomas and Cole Peak each had an interception.

Gulfport (1-1) played without its star junior quarterback Cleveland Ford. The Admirals had just three first downs in the first half and only got a 33-yard field goal from Cain Suddith late in the second quarter.

Admirals quarterback Rhodes Walker completed 10 of 27 passes for 101 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Running back Deon Cole was held to 69 yards on 29 carries. Shugart had eight carries for 26 yards. Alton Conerly caught five passes for 76 yards.

Anderson said his team’s performance against Stanhope Elmore last week set it up for a much needed wake-up call on Friday.

“We obviously have things that we need to work on,” Lions head coach Chad Anderson said. “We need our guys to make big plays. I thought we were overconfident tonight, and we can’t be our own worst enemy.”


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