REFORM, Ala., - Something had to give in the third round of the AHSAA 2A State Playoffs.
Both Reeltown and Pickens County entered Friday's contest with identical 11-1 records and winners of their last 11 games.
But unfortunately for the Tornadoes, it would be Reeltown that would advance to the semi-final round with a 15-7 victory.
"It was a great run and we had a great season," said Pickens County head coach Patrick Plott. "It didn't end the way that we wanted it to end but it was a great season and we enjoyed it."
The Rebels accounted for 206 total yards picking up 182 on the ground. Quarterback Anarius White led Reeltown with 113 all-purpose yards and one touchdown. White completed 2-of-7 passing for 24 yards, one touchdown, had 58 yards on 14 carries and added 51 return yards.
"We knew coming in that he would be hard to tackle," Plott said. "He made plays and we just didn't do a real good job of tackling."
Running back Willie McKenzie also picked up 58 yards on 14 carries while Juantavious McKeithen caught one pass for 15 yards.
It was the Rebels who found the end zone first on the chilly evening. Reeltown marched 44 yards on eight plays capped off by a scrambling 9-yard touchdown pass from White to Calen Waver just as he was heading out of bounds.
White ran in the two-point conversion for the early 8-0 lead in the first quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Rebels tried and recovered an onside kick. But Reeltown could not capitalize on the opportunity and fumbled on their first play from scrimmage.
Brandon Shirley's fumble recovery set up the Tornadoes at their own 44-yard line. It took eight plays but Pickens County crossed the goal line on a 3-yard run by Reginald Jones. Jeremy Rumph added the point after pulling the Tornadoes within 8-7 early on in the second quarter.
But Reeltown would add the final score just before the end of the first half. The Rebels began the drive near midfield and took advantage of back-to-back 24 yard runs with the final ending in a touchdown run for Ki-shawn Powell.
Pickens County made one final run late in the fourth quarter driving down to the RHS 31-yard line before back-to-back penalties caused the officiating crew to lose track of the downs. The Tornadoes lost a down during the process and their final pass toward the end zone fell incomplete.
Pickens County had 187 total yards of offense in the game with 119 yards via the air and 68 yards on the ground.
"There was a little playoff jitters but I think Reeltown had a little to do with that," Plott said. "They are real good on defense and they played well tonight."
Quarterback Deion Curry completed 14-of-26 for 119 yards, no touchdowns and one interception in the contest.
Jones picked up 75 yards rushing on 16 carries and one touchdown for the Tornadoes.
Dominique Jones was the leading receiver with eight catches for 66 yards and three-star receiver prospect Mardrecas Hood was limited to only three catches for 26 yards.
"They kept someone over the top of him the whole time," Plott said of Hood. "They double-teamed him pretty much. We needed other guys to step up and we just didn't get it done."
Friday marked the final game for six Pickens County seniors.
"Our senior class is a great group of guys," Plott said. "They meant a lot to this program. I hate for it to end this way for those guys. I love those guys and I hate to see them go.
Reeltown 15, Pickens County 7 Reform, Ala.
Reeltown 8 7 0 0-15 Pickens County 0 7 0 0-7
First Quarter: Reeltown- Calan Waver 9-yard pass from Anarius White (White run) Second Quarter: Pickens County - Reginald Jones 3-yard run (Jeremy Rumph kick) Reeltown - Ki-shawn Powell 24-yard run (kick failed)