Thanks to a steady ground game, a timely defensive touchdown, and stellar special teams play, the Coosa Eagles were able to pull out a tight 23-15 win over the Lakeview Academy Lions in the driving rain on Homecoming Night.
With their non-region schedule now complete, the Eagles (3-1) are off to their best start since 2017.
“It’s especially good anytime we can win a close game where some discipline helps us where we can learn and grow from these teachable non-region games before we get into play,” Coosa head coach Joey Mathis said. “Any time you can pull out a close game, that’s to your advantage as a teaching point.”
The Lions had the ball with under two minutes to go and a chance to tie the game but had to start from their own 1-yard line after a perfectly placed Terry Curry punt.
A few plays later, a Lions’ (2-2) desperation heave was broken up by Coosa’s D.J. Driver on fourth down, effectively ending the game.
On a rain-soaked night at Eagle Stadium, field position played a pivotal role.
Curry’s late-game punt was one of several crucial special teams plays that included a 59-yard bomb of a punt from the senior and a 33-yard punt return from Curry that set up the Eagles at the Lions’ 7-yard line for an eventual Jaxon Thomas 5-yard touchdown run. Jose Reyes was a perfect 3-for-3 on extra point attempts.
“We practice special teams every day, and we preach it, we preach it, we preach it,” Mathis said. “Terry (Curry) had some nice returns, we had some good punts, some good kickoffs, and we barely missed a 47-yard field goal. Special teams are always going to be big in big games.”
Offensively, Coosa tallied 173 yards on the ground, getting touchdown runs from Thomas and Curry.
Defensively, Josh Dixon provided one of the biggest plays of the night for the Eagles when he jumped a route and took an interception 39 yards the other way for a score.
Coosa kicks off Region 7-AA play next Friday when the Eagles travel to Shannon to face the Model Blue Devils.