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Mt. Zion Stays Undefeated With Key Win Over Bowdon

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The Mount Zion High School football team continued their perfect season Friday as they defeated Bowdon by a score of 24-12. This gives them a 7-0 record on the year and puts them in the driver’s seat for the region title.

These two teams have a long history on the gridiron dating all the way back to 1964. They had played 30 times coming into the game Friday. Bowdon was leading the series by a landslide having only lost one of those 30 games to Mount Zion.

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There was a lot of emotion and a lot on the line playoff wise riding on this game Friday. The two teams had not met since 2011. Also, had Bowdon won, there would have been a 3-way tie for first place in the region. However, Mount Zion was able to get the win stay undefeated.

How it Happened:

Mount Zion came out kicking off to Bowdon to start the game. I was surprised to see Mount Zion attempt an onside kick. The Bowdon front line was on their toes and they recovered the ball to start the drive on their own 45.

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The two teams traded punts to start the game off and then Bowdon was forced to punt once again, giving MZ the ball in excellent field position. There were offsetting penalties that put the ball on the Bowdon 37, then another Bowdon personal foul moved it even closer to the goal line.

A couple plays later, MZ was facing a 3rd and 3 on the Bowdon 7. #21, senior RB Jace Jordan, took it up the middle from 7 yards out on the play and it gave his team the 7-0 lead after the converted extra point.

Bowdon was able to move the ball into Mount Zion territory on the next drive as #11, senior QB Cason Parmer, found #38, senior FB Jake Gilley, for a gain of about 50 yards. It was a perfectly executed play-action play where Gilley was able to find room behind the linebackers and scamper down the field.

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This ended the first quarter and it put Bowdon on the Mount Zion 34 yard line. Unfortunately for the home fans, they could not move the ball any further and were forced to punt.

Mount Zion then took over on their own 20 as the punt sailed into the endzone. They were able to pick up two first downs, but then #2, senior QB Jordan Akin, was sacked on 3rd down forcing a punt.

Bowdon then took over on their own 31 with roughly 7 minutes left in the opening half. They were immediately backed up 15 yards with a chop block penalty, and that was followed by a false start. This put them on their own 11 yard line.

Now in a huge hole, the Red Devils needed a big play of some sort and they found that with a short run that ended in a horse collar tackle by Mount Zion. This moved the ball to the 29 yard line and gave them a much more manageable 2nd and 12 situation.

Cason Parmer then took a designed QB run for 17 yards and that play ended in a facemask. This moved Bowdon into MZ territory on their 42 yard line. Bowdon then received a huge gift as Mount Zion committed another personal foul that moved the ball to the 30 yard line.

Two offside penalties moved Bowdon into the red zone and soon after they were faced with a 4th and 6 situation on the MZ 13 yard line with 1:03 left in the half. This forced Bowdon to attempt a 30 yard field goal after their attempt at another offside penalty failed.

The field goal attempt was blocked by the Eagles and that pretty much ended the half with our score at 7-0, Mount Zion.  

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Mount Zion committed 55 yards worth of penalties on the drive and Bowdon still could not capitalize. Their offense seemed very one-dimensional in the first half and the Mount Zion defense had come ready to play. The first half went by pretty quickly as each team passed the ball less than 3 times.

The second half started off with a bang as Jace Jordan of MZ took the kickoff all the way to the Bowdon 7 yard line before he was tripped up. A couple plays later, Jordan Akin found #25, senior TE Christian Corn, for a 10-yard score with 11 minutes left in the quarter.

It looked as if Akin may be sacked on the play, but he made a very athletic play dodging a defender and eventually jumping in the air while delivering the touchdown strike. After the extra point, Akin’s Eagles had the 14-0 lead.

Bowdon started the next drive on their own 41 yard line but were backed up to the 26 on the first play due to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. A huge catch and then a huge run by #2, senior RB Tay Sheppard, moved the ball into MZ territory. A trick play by the Bowdon offense then got them down to the 11 yard line of Mount Zion.

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A throw to the endzone fell incomplete but MZ was called for pass interference on the play which gave Bowdon a fresh set of downs (picture above). The next play, Cason Parmer took it in up the middle to put his team on the board. The extra point attempt failed and this made the score 14-6 with 7:04 left in the 3rd.

Mount Zion moved into Bowdon territory quickly on the next drive as #23, senior RB Richard Farley, took a 3rd down draw play 24 yards for a 1st down. Mount Zion then tried a fade route to the endzone, but it fell incomplete.

After failing to advance any further, they attempted a 40-yard field goal. #40, sophomore kicker Matthew Tittle, nailed the kick and it gave his team the 17-6 lead with 2:21 left in the 3rd quarter.

Bowdon’s next drive ended in an interception by #4, junior defensive back CJ Ackles. Then, Bowdon committed two personal fouls to give Mount Zion a free 30 yards. This also ended the 3rd quarter.

Mount Zion then dialed up a half-back pass that Jace Jordan threw to CJ Ackles for a touchdown. This gave MZ a 24-6 lead very early into the 4th quarter.

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#44, junior DE Noah Langley, caught the ensuing kickoff and returned it to midfield. A penalty then forced Bowdon backwards once again. However, that same play-action pass play worked again as Parmer found Gilley for a gain of 34 yards. #4, sophomore RB Aaron Beasley, then gained 11 yards to move inside the 10 yard line.

Beasley then took it in for the touchdown with 7:30 left in the 4th quarter. The 2-pt conversion failed and it left the score at 24-12, Mount Zion. Bowdon obviously attempted an onside on the next kick, but it did not travel 10 yards. However, the defense then stepped up and forced MZ to punt.

Bowdon took over on their own 20 and ran that same play to Jake Gilley once again. This time, it went for 40 yards to the Mount Zion 40 yard line. CJ Ackles then intercepted another Cason Parmer pass on the Mount Zion 16 yard line. This happened with 3:38 left in the game and MZ was able to effectively run out the clock.

Mount Zion had a dominant rushing attack on the day. They rushed 30 times as a team for 143 yards. Jace Jordan and Richard Farley each rushed 12 times for 69 and 64 yards respectively while #6, junior RB Kareem Walker, rushed 6 times for 10 yards. Jace Jordan was also able to rush and pass for a touchdown in the game.

Jordan Akin finished 2-of-3 passing for 13 yards and one score. Jace Jordan caught one pass for 3 yards, while Christian Corn caught the 10 yard TD pass. CJ Ackles had an impressive day for the Eagles with two interceptions and a touchdown catch for 11 yards.

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Bowdon QB Cason Parmer finished 5-of-9 for 162 yards and two interceptions. He added 44 yards on 8 carries and a touchdown on the ground. Aaron Beasley was the workhorse on the night as he rushed 17 times for 57 yards and one score. Tay Sheppard rushed 9 times for 34 yards and #3, senior RB Jamal Wyatt, rushed two times for 5 yards.

Jake Gilley finished the night with 3 catches for 124 yards and Tay Sheppard had the other two catches for a total for 38 yards. If I were to keep time of possession, Bowdon would have dominated in this game, but they could not finished off the drives. Penalties also absolutely killed Bowdon on the night.

I left with 3:38 left in the game and Mount Zion had just taken over. I am sure that Jace Jordan and Richard Farley each got some carries on this last drive. So, keep in mind, the stats are up until 3:38 left in the game.

The Red Devils fall to 5-3 on the year with a 3-2 region record. This puts them in 3rd in their subdivision of region 6A. The top two teams from each subdivision will face off in a region championship and the winner will get an automatic 1st round bye. Darlington and Mount Zion are ahead of Bowdon on their side while Fellowship Christian, Mt. Pisgah Christian, Mt. Paran Christian, and Pinecrest Academy all have equal or better region records than Bowdon. 
It looks as if Mt. Zion will play in the region title and all the other teams behind will rely on the seeding system. 
The 8 region champions will get a 1st round bye and the other remaining 16 will play in the 1st round. Those 16 will be chosen by the seeding system. Class A is the only classification that does playoffs this way. Thank you to Mr. Akin for pointing this out to me.

Bowdon needs to win out and hope for a Darlington region loss if they want to make the playoffs. Mount Zion looks pretty good as of right now. Bowdon will have this week off before traveling to North Cobb Christian on the 28th. Mt Zion will face Trion at home this Friday in a key region battle.

If you are a parent or relative of a player interested in purchasing photos, feel free to e-mail me. The pictures in this article are not all of the photos I took Friday. So, do not hesitate to contact me to ask if I have any you may be interested in.

Thanks for reading my recap of the game!

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