HUBBERTVILLE – Zeb Maze delivered the knockout punch for Addison when he scored on an 11-yard run with 1:14 remaining in the game to send the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs past No. 10 Hubbertville 30-20 and on to the semifinals in the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) 1A playoffs.
Maze got the call to run the football seven times in the fourth quarter, gaining 59 yards. He ran it three times on the Bulldogs' final drive that was set up by an interception from Noah Rice, who lateraled the ball to William Guthrie and give Addison a first down at the Hubbertville 20.
The interception by Rice was his second in the game and the third turnover the Bulldogs forced the Lions into committing.
An interception by Chandler Cookenmaster late in the second allowed the Bulldogs to capitalize as Maze booted a 35-yard field goal and Addison led 15-0 at halftime.
Two of the mistakes made by the Lions accounted for 10 points. Last week against Spring Garden, the Bulldogs forced the Panthers into three miscues, with two delivering 14 points to the Addison side of the scoreboard.
Addison went up 15-0 thanks to touchdown runs of 52 and 32 yards by Rice in the second quarter and the field goal from Maze. Addison managed 3 yards of offense in a first period dominated by defensive play, then the Bulldogs went to work with 116 yards on the ground in the second and held the upper hand as both teams headed to the locker room.
But early in the third, the Lions roared back into the game. A 50-yard pass from Tyler Benton to Zac Hubbert put Hubbertville in a first-and-goal situation from the Addison 5. Benton scored on the next play and added a 2-point play to close the gap to 15-8.
Back came Addison with a 57-yard drive that included a Rice pass of 15 yards and a first down to Logan Wilkins plus a 12-yard run by Rice and a 6-yard run by Cookenmaster.
The score came on an 11-yard run off left guard by Ben Robinson and Rice scored on the conversion play to make it 23-8 Bulldogs with 3:54 to go in the third.
Hubbertville used a 24-yard pass from Benton to John Upton on the next drive after the Addison TD and was in striking distance at 23-14 when the third quarter ended.
The score remained that way for Addison until Rice had a pass picked off by Hubbertville defensive back Ethan Nichols at the Lions' 30. Nichols darted 59 yards downfield before he was tackled by Rice with the Lions having a first-and-10 at the Addison 11-yard line
Upton scored up the middle on a 6-yard run and the Hubbertville crowd got loud with its cowbells, seeing the Lions draw within 23-20 with 9:27 left in the hotly contested quarterfinal.
Addison moved the ball downfield, only to turn it over on downs with the Lions taking over at their 14 as the clock showed 2:38 remaining.
But the Bulldogs got a defensive play when they needed it, with Rice picking off a Nichols toss around the Lions' 40. He lateraled the ball behind him to Guthrie, who gained an additional 20 yards and the Bulldogs were in business from the Hubbertville 20 with 1:32 to go.
Facing third-and-inches from the 11 and Hubbertville out of timeouts, Maze took the ball up the middle with the Lions unable to keep him out of the end zone.
His run and the extra point was the breathing room the Bulldogs needed to put this game out of reach by a final of 30-20. Addison improved to 13-0, while the Hubbertville season came to a close at 11-2 and a loss at Wiley Hollingsworth Stadium for the first time in seven games.
Maze finished with 77 yards on 11 carries and the game clinching touchdown for David Smothers' Bulldogs. Rice ran 12 times for 107 yards and had two touchdowns, plus he completed two passes for 16 yards.
For the night, Addison ran for 247 yards, threw for 16 and gained 263 yards of offense with 12 first downs.
Hubbertville tallied 147 yards via the run, 94 from passing for 241 yards of total offense.
A difference in the game was Denton. The senior running back suffered an ankle injury on the opening kickoff after he returned the ball 40 yards to the Addison 40.
Denton played the rest of the contest, but was showing signs of hurting from the injury and had to have both ankles taped to keep him in position to try to keep the Lions in contention.
Denton ran for 90 yards on 15 carries and scored a touchdown, threw for 74 yards and a touchdown, operating between quarterback and tailback for coach Lamar Harris' Lions.
Addison is on to the 1A semifinals to play Pickens County next week in the town of Reform. Pickens County advanced to the semifinal round by routing Decatur Heritage 48-12 at West Morgan Stadium.
The winner of this semifinal will go on to play in the 1A state championship at Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium on Dec. 1 at 3 p.m.
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