PREP FOOTBALL: Deaver scores on final play to lift Meek over Sumiton Christian 22-20

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(Sammy Confer/The Cullman Tribune)

ARLEY, Ala. – The Meek Tigers returned to their home field Friday night to wrap up the regular season against Sumiton Christian and it was an instant classic with the Eagles. Both teams traded the lead throughout the night before the Tigers put together a 10-play drive in the final minutes of the fourth quarter that was capped off by Cam Deaver’s game-winning touchdown run as time expired.

After a scoreless opening quarter, the Tigers put together a solid drive early in the second and capped it off with a touchdown run from Matthew Clark, his sixth of the season. Deaver ran in the two-point conversion and Meek moved in front 8-0 early with just under 10 minutes to play in the first half. A big sack by Blake Miller forced the Eagles to punt on their next possession but Sumiton Christian was able to find the end zone late in the second quarter and tie the game at 8 going into the halftime break.

The Eagles received the ball to start the second half and drove down the field for a touchdown to take the lead early in third quarter. The Tigers kept Sumiton Christian out of the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt and the Eagles held a 14-8 lead. Big runs from Clark and Deaver got Meek back down into enemy territory on the next possession, but penalties drove the Tigers backward. They decided to go for it on fourth and long but came up just a yard short and turned the ball over to Sumiton Christian.

However, the Tigers’ defense stepped up and made a big stop to force an Eagles punt and get the ball back to their offense with great field position. Clark ripped off another big run to get Meek down inside the 2-yard line and Deaver finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown. Deaver drove in the two-point conversion as well and the Tigers moved back in front 16-14 with 11:21 to play in the fourth quarter.

Both teams exchanged punts after that, and Sumiton Christian took over possession midway through the fourth. The Eagles connected on a 28-yard touchdown pass on a fourth down play to go back in front 20-16 but Meek held them out on the two-point conversion attempt. The Tigers got the ball back with just under five minutes to play and one more chance to retake the lead.

Quarterback David Tidwell hit Jarrett Benson for a big gain on first down and a few plays later, Deaver moved the chains on a fourth down play to keep Meek’s chances alive. Clark broke loose for another big run to get the Tigers inside the 10-yard line but after being held out of the end zone on three straight plays, Head Coach Houston Powell called a timeout with six seconds on the clock to set up the game’s final play. After the timeout, Tidwell took the snap and handed it off to Deaver who drove into the end zone from 4 yards out to score as time expired and give the Tigers a dramatic, 22-20 victory over Sumiton Christian.

Clark posted 157 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries and Deaver added 35 more yards and two touchdowns in the win. Tidwell was 4/7 for 65 yards for the Tigers.

Meek finishes the regular season 7-3 with the win, it’s the Tigers’ first season with seven or more wins since 2017. Meek will be on the road to take on R.A. Hubbard in the opening round of the state playoffs next week.

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