Bessemer Academy falls to MS’s Lamar Raiders in season opener

Montgomery, AL – The Bessemer Academy Rebels shot out of the gate in the Alabama high school football opener but were unable to put away Meridian, Mississippi’s Lamar Rebels in the second annual SECIS Kickoff Classic. 

The border war was a rematch of defending state champions.  Bessemer Academy defeated Lamar 35-13 in last years season opener in Montgomery.  

Senior Rebel Jalen Conwell returned the game, and the season’s, opening kick 91 yards for a touchdown.  Conwell followed his special teams heroics with a fumble recovery on Lamar’s first offensive possession. 

The Raiders answered the Rebels opening strike with a 5 yard pass from quarterback Joseph Hutchinson to William Lamar, evening the score at 7 with just under 6 minutes to play in the opening quarter.  

Bessemer answered back with a Austin Clarke five yard score on their next possession to put the Alabama squad back on top with three minutes and change remaining in the first. 

The Raiders owned the second quarter, scoring on Hutchinson passes of 80 yards to Elon Presley and 25 to J.T. McClelland.  Lamar capped the opening half with a J.D. Lee interception return with just over five minutes remaining before the break to put the Rebels up 35-14. 

After a back and fourth third quarter,  Rebel special teams hit pay dirt for the second time with under a minute to play as Austin Clarke crossed the endzone with a 59 yard punt return. Clarke’s score pulled the Rebels within two scores heading into the fourth quarter.

Lamar added to their lead midway through the final stanza with a Chet Williams rushing strike from inside the five, sealing the 42-21 win for the defending Mississippi state champions.  

Josh Wright’s Rebels return to action Friday night at Samford University’s Seibert Stadium against Memphis, Tennessee’s Evangelical Christian School.  

Check out Bessemer Academy’s home on PrepsNet for complete Rebel football coverage throughout the 2017 season.