The Rattlers’ defense forced five turnovers and put the brakes on the high-octane Eagles offense, which produced 54 points during its second-round win against No. 10 Ranburne.
“Our defense won us the game last week, and again tonight they did a good job of containing their two high-powered guys in the backfield, the running back and the quarterback,” White said. “That’s an explosive offense that put up a lot of points last week.”
Starting defensive backs Whitt and Deshun Freeman picked off passes in the second quarter, while Fletcher and Baltazar “Tito” Rubio each had a fumble recovery.
Chris Townsend, a starting wide receiver and backup DB, had a fourth-quarter interception for the second straight game.
“Chris started the first two games of the season in our secondary, and then we made a change and put Hayden in,” White said. “Chris has been playing well on offense, and the way he has played this season shows a lot about his character in being patient and not moping around. His play the last two weeks have been big for us.”
By the numbers
Stephens ran 31 times for 125 yards and a pair of 1-yard touchdowns, including one with 3:38 left before halftime and the go-ahead score in the fourth. Through three playoff games, the senior speedster has rushed 80 times for 464 yards and eight TDs.
Mayberry had 11 carries for 84 yards and two scores on a 20-yard rumble in the first quarter and an 11-yarder in the fourth.
Fletcher completed 3 of 9 passes for 106 yards, with an interception in the second quarter, and added 73 rushing yards on scrambles and designed runs.
Tanner’s offense, which lost a fumble in the third, moved the chains for 15 first downs and 387 yards of total offense, including 281 on the ground. The Rattlers missed their only extra-point kick and finished 1 of 3 on two-point attempts.
Montgomery Academy had 11 first downs and 278 yards, with only 83 rushing. Stephen Rutledge went 2 for 2 on PATs.