Coosa Valley collapses in second half

Despite leading 14-12 at halftime, Coosa Valley Academy collapsed in the second half, giving up three turnovers in the 48-20 loss.

Coach Steven Mackin said turning the ball over killed the team’s chances of winning.

One bright spot in the second half was a 37-yard touchdown run by junior Ricky Ellison.

Defensive highlights include two fumble recoveries, one by Phillip Neal and one by Brandon Batchelor.

Both head coach Mackin and assistant coach Paul David Houston said that the team had improved since last year’s showing against South Choctaw.

“We fought so hard tonight,” Mackin said.

Houston agreed, saying the team showed guts while battling last year’s state champion.

“We have more heart than — I believe — any team,” Houston said.

Houston said the biggest difference against South Choctaw this year was that the team never gave up.

“At times (last year) we would let down,” Houston said. “This year, we had a never quit attitude.”

Both coaches and the team are looking forward to next week’s game against Lyman Ward.

“This game has set us up to really play well in the east (region),” Houston said.

After a summer of injuries, the team is looking ahead to when lineman J.B. Ripley will be able to play all four quarters and be back on defense.

The senior was able to play offense in the second half against South Choctaw, but did not play on defense at all.

While on offense though, Ripley did his fair share, with 93 rushing yards and six receptions.

Mackin said that he thought Coosa Valley Academy had the ability to make it to the playoffs this year.

“We have got to play good every week to win,” Mackin said. “Our region is pretty tough. We just have got to go out there … and play with heart, intensity and execute.”

Houston said the team would focus on a number of things in practice this week including correcting simple mistakes like offside penalties and holding calls.

He also said the team would work on conditioning since the second half of the game was filled with junior high students taking over older student’s spots due to cramps.