Explosive plays push MA over Trinity, to 3A semifinals

Scott Watkins
Special to the Advertiser

The Montgomery Academy Eagles scored five rushing touchdowns and notched three interceptions in a 42-21 AHSAA Class 3A quarterfinal victory over crosstown rival Trinity on Friday night.

Here are three things we learned from MA’s 13th win of the year:

The Cooper brothers are built for playoff football

Junior Jamal Cooper and sophomore Jashawn Cooper left their fingerprints all over the field in the Eagles’ dismantling of the Wildcats.

Montgomery Academy’s Jamal Cooper (3) runs the ball to score the Eagles’ first touchdown of the game.

The pair created a number of big plays in key spots on both sides of the ball to propel MA in the first half. Jamal Cooper opened the game with a 52-yard touchdown run before Jashawn intercepted a pass on his own goal line on the ensuing possession. The latter Cooper then took a handoff 97 yards to the house just a few plays later to open up a 14-0 lead.

“This was their best game tonight,” Montgomery Academy head coach Robert Johnson said after the contest. “They’ve been playing well and they’re getting better and better each week.”

Jashawn tallied 184 yards on the ground with three touchdowns, while older brother Jamal gained 154 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Montgomery Academy’s Carter Wallis (26) hustles toward the end zone for an Eagles touchdown.

The Eagles have big-play potency

Johnson’s team came into the game averaging 27.9 points a game, but managed to drop 42 on a Wildcats team that held MA to just 13 points during the regular season. Along with the 97-yard score, Britton Kohn also connected with Carter Wallis for a 95-plus yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Wallis came up with an interception in the second half, too, and added a solid return.

“Honestly, we haven’t had a bunch of big plays (this season),” Johnson said. “We’ve been more of a grind-it-out (team), but tonight we had big plays.”

Kahn threw for 130 yards on just four completions with 105 of those yards going to Wallis.

Trinity’s Chase Letner (8) tries to dodge a tackle during the second half.

There is plenty to look forward to at Trinity

Trinity head coach Granger Shook said expectations were not high for the Wildcats in his first season at the helm. Shook’s group was coming off a 6-5 season, its only winning year in the previous four, but is coming out of 2020 with the first 10-win season at TPS in a full decade.

While several key pieces of this season’s Wildcats will be graduating, including quarterback John David Bonner, TPS returns the majority of its offensive line with just one senior graduating.

Shook said he was proud of his senior class but is excited about the underclassmen because, in Shook’s words, “they play the game the right way.”

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