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|Huntington comes close against AC|
Bo Swilley was part of some memorable games as a lineman for the Adams County Christian School football team when it came to playing Huntington School, located in his hometown of Ferriday.
The same held true when he became head football coach at ACCS in 1995.
On August 29, 1997, Swilley's Rebels opened up at home against Huntington.
"It was actually a lot of fun playing Huntington," Swilley said. "I knew the kids and was familiar with their families. I always had a good relationship with Huntington people. There was a lot at stake because you don't want to lose to someone close to home. But part of what makes football so great is when the kids walk across the field and shake hands and hug necks after a clean game."
Swilley said he also thought the world of Huntington coach Sonny Clay, who was in his fifth year as coach at Huntington. As a matter of fact, Swilley made a beeline for Clay and his team after the Rebels pulled out a hard-fought 25-22 win.
"I told the Huntington kids they played well enough to win," Swilley said. "I told them we got the W, but they certainly did everything they needed to do to win. They had a really good football team."
Huntington scored on its first drive as quarterback Chad Vaught scored on a 10-yard run. The point-after kick was blocked.
"We went right down the field on our first possession and continued to move the ball on them for most of the first half," Clay said.
"We were very excited coming into that season," said Vaught, now a dentist in Covington where he and his wife recently welcomed twins. "We had a good team, this was our senior year and we were starting off with ACCS. It was always a challenge playing them. I still think about that game. I always wanted to beat them, and that year I thought we did."
Huntington's lead did not last long as Bradford Rollins returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to paydirt.
"That was my first time to return a kick," Rollins said. "John Gillespie returned kicks the year before. I didn't really know what to expect."
Rollins, a junior, scored four touchdowns, including going off tackle for 94 yards in the second quarter. He finished with 212 rushing yards on 25 carries.
"That was my breakout game," Rollins said. "I surprised myself. That game gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season."
Huntington got back on the board with 3:23 remaining in the first half on a 17-yard run by Vaught, who added the conversion run to pull the Hounds to within 19-14.
Rollins scored his fourth touchdown in the third quarter for a 25-14 Rebel lead.
With 8:52 remaining, Vaught passed 22 yards to Jay King and Ryan Crum ran in the conversion to pull the Hounds to within 25-22.
"It got down to the last minute of the game and we were driving," Clay said. "We were on about their 20-yard line, facing fourth down, and called a pass play. Chad had to scramble for his life, but found John Burnham open in the end zone and threw the go-ahead touchdown pass. We are all celebrating, but look over on the other side of the field, and there is a flag."
The call was offensive lineman downfield.
"We found out later the official had pulled the flag out, realized there was no penalty, and put it back in his pocket," Clay said. "Their coach told the official he couldn't do that, so he pulled it out and threw it. He called it on Curtis Martin, our center. What had happened, while Chad was scrambling around the line official had moved back five yards from the line of scrimmage and when he looked downfield, he saw Curtis lying on the ground five yards down the field. Curtis was actually lying on the ground at the original scrimmage line. We sent the film in to the association and was told a mistake had been made, but the score couldn't be changed."
"It was a tough loss," Burnham said. "I remember Bo Swilley coming across the field to tell us not to pay attention to the scoreboard that we had really won that game. I thank he meant the way we played, but in our minds he meant that was a bad call."
Huntington finished 2-8 that season.
"I think that loss to AC took its toll on us mentally," Vaught said. "We took the approach we didn't need to take, that everybody was against us. It was tough for us to re-group and bounce back."
Pick A Game is a series of articles focusing on one sporting event from the past.
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