It was an absolute barn-burner at McAdory High School Friday night, as the Hillcrest Patriots (6-1, 3-1) edged the McAdory Yellowjackets (4-4, 3-1) by a score of 45-41. 

48 points were scored in the 4th quarter alone between these two teams, but turnovers ended up being the deciding factor in the Yellow Jackets’ first conference loss. 

Hillcrest QB Ethan Crawford tallied up over 200 all-purpose yards, three touchdowns and an interception, with two of the scores being on the ground. McAdory QB Cameron Shepherd put up a prolific 409 passing yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions in the losing effort, with three of those touchdown passes happening in the Yellow Jackets’ late fourth quarter push. 

“You can’t do anything but walk off this field proud of both teams,” McAdory Head Coach Bart Sessions said. “Our kids fought to the end and we knew Hillcrest was a great program, they’re having a great season and I’m so proud of the way we fought.” 

It started the way it ended: explosive. Shepherd connected with WR Savion Hadley on a 68-yard touchdown pass to open the game for McAdory. Hillcrest’s next drive would result in a short Marcus Wilkins touchdown. They’d get the ball back from a Shepherd interception but would end up  giving it right back, as an odd ricochet off a Hillcrest receiver tipped the ball into the hands of a McAdory defender. 

Shepherd then threw another interception to hand the ball back again, and this time Hillcrest capitalized. Crawford scampered for a six yard score, making it 14-7 in favor of the Patriots. Shepherd would shake off the mistakes however, and connect with Cameron Harris on another long touchdown pass of 64 yards. Hillcrest added a Seth Martin field goal on their next drive, and then scored again on Crawford’s second rushing touchdown after that. McAdory would fumble away their last possession of the half, heading into the locker rooms at 24-14 in favor of Hillcrest. 

The entire third quarter was scoreless, with McAdory taking up almost the entire duration on a single drive that ended in a turnover on downs at the 1-yard line. After this, the fireworks began. Between 10:46 and 9:06 in the fourth quarter, 28 points were scored, with teams trading long touchdown passes every drive. McAdory was down 38-21 at one point, but cut the deficit to 38-35. 

They couldn’t get a stop when it mattered however, as the Patriots relied on running back Tyler Smith to drain the clock, and it resulted in a 37 yard breakaway touchdown for Smith. The Yellowjackets would score quick on another touchdown pass but fail to recover the onside kick, letting the Patriots drain the clock, and make the 45-41 score a final. 

“We’ve had some times this year were we have struggled in short yardage situations, and we did well tonight.” Hillcrest Head Coach Sam Adams said.  “They know we needed to run, we know it, and you have to do what you have to do to win.”

Hillcrest now turns their attention to the Paul W. Bryant Stampede, while McAdory focuses on their away game at Hueytown.

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