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SUPER 7 CLASS 5A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP Central, Clay County 31, Pleasant Grove 27

Central, Clay County 31, Pleasant Grove 27
AUBURN – The AHSAA Super 7 Class 5A state championship came down to the final play with in the final seconds as Central of Clay County downed Pleasant Grove 31-27 to win the second state title in a row for the Volunteers.
     Pleasant Grove snapped the final play from the Central 10-yard line. As quarterback Zyquez Perryman dropped back to ball, he flushed out of out of the pocket and had no choice but to tuck the ball and run. Central defenders J.D. McNealey and Javon Wood had no choice either. The trio collided just inside the 2-yard line, and when the dust had settled, Perryman was stopped just shy of the goal line and the Volunteers had won the state title as time expired.
      The incredible finish in the 5A finals closed out a day of incredible games as Piedmont beat Mobile Christian 26-24 in the Class 3A championship game and Lanett downed defending Class 1A state champ Mars Hill Bible 41-30 for the 1A title.
      The 24th Super 7 State Championships conclude Friday with defending state champion UMS-Wright (13-0), riding a 32-game winning streak, and Jacksonville (12-2) squaring off in the 4A finals at 11 a.m., followed by defending state champion Fyffe (14-0), with a 29-game win streak, meeting Reeltown (13-1) in the 2A championship game 3 p.m., and Oxford (13-1) taking on Spanish Fort (9-4) in the 6A finals at 7 to close out the 2019 Super 7 Championships.
      Coach Darrell LeBeaux’s Spartans (13-2) and Coach Danny Horn’s Vols (13-2) were pretty much even from start to finish. Central relied on a punishing running game led by senior Quentin Knight, who finished with 181 yards rushing on 23 carries with two touchdowns. He earned the Class 5A championship game MVP honors with his effort.  Linebacker J.D. McNealey added 79 yards on 11 carries – 60 coming in the third quarter – and scored two touchdowns as well. His 1-yard run with 7:25 remaining erased a 27-24 deficit and proved to be the deciding touchdown. Phillip Ogles completed 4-of-11 passes for 74 yards with Javon Wood hauling in three receptions for 67 yards.
       Pleasant Grove countered with the strong  arm of Perryman, who completed 25-of-43 passes for 316 yards and four touchdowns. He played a near perfect game with no interceptions and
no sacks. He rushed for 28 yards on six carries to finish with 344 total yards. Xavier Hill caught nine passes for 100 yards and two TDs, and Chris Lewis had seven catches for two scores. JaMaryon Furlow also had five receptions for 82 yards.
    Pleasant Grove opened the scoring in the first quarter with a methodical 14-play, 76-drive – the last 17 yards coming on a TD pass from Perryman to Hill. Leon Rodriguez’s kick gave the Spartans a 7-0 lead at the quarter break.  Central tied the game at 7-7 midway through the second quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by Knight. Perryman gave Pleasant Grove a 13-7 lead at the 3:44 mark of the second period with a 40-yard touchdown toss to Lewis. The Volunteers tacked on s 22-yard field goal by Clayton Yates with 1:21 left in the period and trailed 13-10 at halftime.
     Central took the lead in the third period with two touchdowns coming on the strong running of McNealey and Knight. McNealey put a spark in the Vols offense with 60 yards rushing on his first five carries in the second half. He scored on a powerful 30-yard run and Knight, who led all rushers on the night with 181 yards, gave Central a 24-13 lead with an 18-yard touchdown run with just over five minutes left in the quarter.
    Pleasant Grove’s offense was energized on its next possession and the Spartans cut the lead to 24-20 with a 12-yard TD pass from Perryman to Lewis with 1:21 left in the quarter to set up the wild finish in the final period.
    McNealey had eight tackles and two assists to lead the Volunteers defensive effort. Wood and Clayton Yates were in on seven tackles each.  Elijah Thomas led Pleasant Grove with 12 stops.
      The state championship was the eighth coached by Horn, who led Clay County to six state championships before the school merged with Lineville in 2012. He is 311-88 in his legendary career, which has spanned 31 seasons. Clay County won a state-record 55 consecutive games from 1994-97.
       All championship games  are being televised over the AHSAA TV Network by the NFHS Network and WOTM, the AHSAA TV partner. The games are available over the NFHS Network live-stream platform and the WOTM network of cable affiliates across the state.
     For detailed information concerning the telecasts, go to the following link:
    To access the AHSAA Radio Network, which is broadcasting all seven championship games, go to the following link for the internet link:


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