Kingwood football makes history with win

Kingwood's Jonathan Faulkner runs away from defenders in a Nov. 8 win. (Contributed/Diane Cunnigham)

Kingwood’s Jonathan Faulkner runs away from defenders in a Nov. 8 win. (Contributed/Diane Cunnigham)

By LUKE GRANTHUM/For the Reporter

GREENVILLE — There’s a first time for everything.

The Kingwood Lions defeated the Fort Dale Academy Eagles Oct. 15 to earn the school’s first-ever playoff win, in the team’s 16th year of AISA competition.

The Lions opened the scoring with 5:05 to go in the first quarter on a Gage Sumrall 8-yard run. Austin Dowdy added the PAT to give Kingwood the 7-0 lead.

The Eagles answered with 57 seconds to go in the first quarter with a touchdown of their own to tie the score. Fort Dale took a 14-7 lead with 8:49 in the second quarter. It took the Lions just 6 plays to answer the touchdown when Jonathon Faulkner scored from 4 yards out to close to within one. The PAT was no good. The Eagles closed out the half with a long drive scoring with four seconds on the clock to lead 21-13.

Kingwood opened the second half with a six-play drive culminating in Faulkner’s second touchdown from three yards out with 10:05 to go in the third quarter. The Lions elected to go for two points, but came up short leaving them trailing 21-19. Both teams traded field position for the rest of the quarter.

With the first play of the fourth quarter, the Lions scored on a Montez Haynes 57-yard interception for a touchdown. The PAT was no good and Kingwood took a 25-21 lead with 11:44 to go in the game.  Kingwood forced the Eagles to turn the ball over on downs on their next possession and took over with 9:22 to go in the fourth quarter.  Kingwood used an 11-play drive capped by Sumrall’s 39-yard TD pass to Montez Haynes. Charley White ran for the 2 point conversion and Kingwood had a 33-21 lead with 6:20 to go in the game.

The Lions closed out the scoring with a 42-yard field goal by Haynes with 2:11 left in the game.

Sumrall finished the game 13-24 for 205 yards and a touchdown. Haynes had five receptions for 130 yards and a TD. As a team, the Lions rushed 34 times for 154 yards. They were led by Charles White with 14 carries for 77 yards and Haynes with 12 carries for 69 yards and 1 touchdown.

Defensively Kingwood was led by Tyler Mills with eight tackles and four assists, Tyler Byrd with two tackles and 14 assists and Montez Haynes with three tackles, a sack, 2 assists and two interceptions including the touchdown.

Coach Birmingham said he could tell his team was ready to play.

“(I) could look the kids in the eyes and tell they wanted it,” he said, “(Then) they went out and did it.”

Kingwood advances to the second round and will travel to Bessemer Academy Oct. 15.