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Southern Academy upset in Monroeville

MONROEVILLE — Monroe Academy broke through on a scoring strike with 30 seconds remaining in the game to take the 18-13 lead that eventually felled top-ranked Southern Academy Friday night.

“Part of being good sometimes is being lucky and this has been the worst year we’ve had at Southern,” head coach Shaun Bonds, whose team was missing several key players, said following the game. Among those missing from action for the Cougars was starting tailback Charlie Bartzell.

“We limped in,” Bonds said. “I challenged them to play with heart and they did.”

Luck seemed to smile on the Volunteers Friday night as the game-winning score was set up by a well-executed flea flicker play. A depleted and exhausted Cougar squad took over with an opportunity to score with just over 20 seconds remaining.

After three straight passes narrowly missed their intended targets, SA found senior Coleman McClendon on a short pass. McClendon rumbled forward, broke tackles and knifed his way into Volunteer territory before finally being taken to the Monroeville turf.

“We played until we couldn’t play anymore,” Bonds said.

The effort from McClendon, which proved the last play of the game, was indicative of the Cougars’ performance all night.

“He plays with absolute heart,” Bonds said of McClendon. “I came out of a 6A program and I said, ‘This kids will never play for me.’ And I’ll be danged if he’s not my best football player.”

The game, which was scoreless at halftime, ended SA’s dream of an undefeated season.

“It was region and the biggest thing is home field advantage in the playoffs,” Bonds said of the loss.

Southern will play again next Friday for Homecoming against Wilcox Academy.