Kemper Academy’s Brody Thomas is brought down for a loss last Friday night against Prentiss Christian.
Kemper Academy’s Brody Thomas is brought down for a loss last Friday night against Prentiss Christian.
By Rocky Higginbotham

Kemper County Messenger

Kemper Academy’s young and injury-riddled football team seemed to make some strides forward in a loss at Calhoun Academy two weeks ago. Strides weren’t quite so noticeable when No. 2 ranked Prentiss Christian Academy came to DeKalb last Friday night.

Prentiss took advantage of five Kemper Academy turnovers and rolled to a 48-8 win over the Rams on “The Hill” in DeKalb. The Saints, playing their first year of 8-man football after making the Class AA state playoffs in each of the last four years, improved to 3-0. KA remained winless at 0-3.

“We knew we were going to have our hands full with them,” Kemper Academy coach Pete McCleskey said. “Just based on what they’ve done the last few years, we knew what kind of athletes they would have.

“We also knew they had been putting up a lot of points this year. But we didn’t help ourselves with the four fumbles … you turn the ball over that many times and it’s hard to be competitive with anybody.”

KA lost four of its five fumbles and also threw an interception. The Rams did manage 191 yards of total offense, while PCA had 296.

Prentiss turned one of those fumbles into a first-quarter touchdown and led 13-0 after one period.

It was 20-0 Saints before Kemper got on the board with a second-quarter touchdown pass from Brody Thomas to Jordan Higginbotham that covered 24 yards. Thomas also hit Logan Christopher on the two-point conversion pass, pulling the Rams within 20-8 with 1:46 left in the first half.

But just as they did the previous week at Calhoun, Kemper gave up a late score to Prentiss before they went to the locker room. This one came on a 44-yard touchdown run with 57.5 seconds on the clock, and PCA led 28-8.

The Saints added a 66-yard scoring jaunt on a third-down-and-7 play in the third quarter, then tacked on two touchdowns in the fourth.

Thomas threw for a total of 125 yards on the night, with Higginbotham catching three passes for 72 yards and the score to lead all receivers. Matthew Cordar’s 28 yards rushing on five attempts led KA’s ground game.

Defensively, Jackson Mason recorded nine total tackles including five solos to lead KA, while Gabe Sciple totaled eight tackles and had a blocked field goal.

Dylan Fulton had three solo stops and finished with six total tackles; Austin Castleberry recorded five tackles; and Garrett Thomas finished with four.

Kemper, which is still without three injured players including a pair of two-way starters, will enjoy the second of its two open dates this week.

The Rams return to action Friday, Sept. 22, when they are scheduled to host Delta Academy.