Kingwood player shines despite 41-0 loss to Bessemer Academy

Kingwood Christian School junior Tyrone Pope had one of his best games in adverse conditions Thursday night in the Lions’ 41-0 loss to Bessemer Academy.

Despite playing on offense, defense and special teams with a stomach virus, Pope also sported dirt-stained cleats on a muddy field as he rushed for 143 yards on 26 carries in Kingwood’s loss to the Rebels, who are an Alabama Independent School Association powerhouse.

Pope had an incredible night, but the Lions couldn’t overcome an impressive offensive display by Bessemer Academy. The Rebels scored on both of their first-quarter drives to take a 14-0 lead after the first quarter and expanded the lead to 29-0 by halftime.

Kingwood also had an impressive showing on its opening drive. Pope ran for 34 yards to lead the Lions inside the Bessemer 30-yard line before his fumble ended the drive. Pope broke through the line of scrimmage for a 40-yard run on Kingwood’s second drive and finished with 67 rushing yards in the first quarter.

Pope ran for 88 yards in the second quarter, including a 61-yard run to get the Lions in scoring position late in the quarter. Senior Derrick Lykins came up short on a 38-yard field goal attempt, but the Lions picked up a first down on a 15-yard roughing the kicker penalty. Lykins missed a 30-yard attempt four plays later, but another roughing the kicker penalty set Kingwood up inside the Rebels’ 5-yard line. Daniel Reeves came up short as he tried to sneak the ball in from one yard out as time expired in the second quarter.

Pope finished the first half with 120 rushing yards on 13 carries.

Fatigue began to set in during the third quarter, as the Rebels held Pope to two yards on three carries. Bessemer Academy scored twice in the quarter to push its lead to 41-0 at the end of the third quarter.

Pope regained a little momentum in the fourth quarter. He spurted through the line for a 16-yard run early in the quarter. He had a pass tipped and intercepted by a Bessemer Academy defender midway through the quarter, but he tracked the Rebel player down and ripped the ball out of his hands to regain possession for the Lions.

Pope also completed a 28-yard pass to Peyton Sumerall and had a 10-yard reception from Reeves as time expired.

Kingwood (0-5, 0-3 in AISA Class 3A, Region 2) travels to Pickens Academy on Oct. 2 as head coach Vince Elliott continues his search for his first victory as a head coach.