SCOTTSVILLE – The Warren East Raiders appeared to be on their way to a come-from-behind victory against an Allen County-Scottsville team that played much of the game with a backup quarterback. However, timely defense from the Patriots propelled them into the second round of the KHSAA playoffs with a 27-25 victory.

“I put them in some bad spots tonight,” ACS coach Brad Hood said. “And they fought and they never quit.”

ACS appeared to be well on the way to the first score of the game, easily slicing to the Warren East 10-yard line, but stalled there, going four-and-out and giving the ball to the Raiders.

The Patriots looked to have made up for their offensive mistake, forcing Warren East to punt after three downs. However, the punt was muffed and the Raiders recovered at the ACS 47-yard line.

The Raiders were unable to capitalize, but on their next drive they made good after a fumble by the Patriots. Nolan Ford, who found his team facing second-and-25 following several penalties, threw a bomb to EJ Smith, who broke free of the ACS defense and found the end zone for a 64-yard touchdown to give the Raiders a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Patriots answered quickly, now led by Brandon Baxter at quarterback after Trace McIntyre went down with an injury. ACS scored on a 9-yard rushing touchdown from Jax Cooper. The extra point gave the Patriots a 7-6 lead.

Cooper scored again later in the quarter, this time catching a 15-yard pass from Baxter in the corner of the end zone to give ACS a 14-7 lead.

Not to be outdone, the Raiders took over with 1:04 remaining in the half and were able to add to their total on a 20-yard pass from Ford to a wide-open Smith. Ford was unable to score on the conversion and the teams went to the break with ACS leading 14-12.

The Raiders came out swinging in the second half, scoring a touchdown on their first drive, with Ford finding DeSean Gilbert for a 4-yard score to give Warren East the 18-14 lead.

“I thought Nolan threw the ball well,” Warren East coach Jeff Griffith said. “We threw and caught it well on a cold night.”

The Patriots got the lead back on the ensuing drive, with a quarterback sneak by Baxter, then with a 8-yard touchdown run by Jaquez McPeek to make the score 27-18.

The Patriots were knocking on the door late in the third quarter, but disaster struck when Baxter was picked off by Gilbert, who scampered 99 yards for a Warren East touchdown.

With the score 27-25, the Patriots again drove deep into Warren East territory, but were unable to come away with any points, turning it over on downs to the Raiders, who took over with 2:01 remaining. Ford found Logan Saunders, who ran all the way to the ACS 8-yard line.

However, on the next play, Ford was picked off by the Patriots’ Seth Byrd, icing the victory and sending the Patriots into the next round of the playoffs, where they will travel to Franklin-Simpson.

“I didn’t even know if I was going to intercept it or not,” Byrd said. “But I put my hands up and I caught it and I just tried to take off.”

ACS 0 14 13 0– 27

WE 6 6 6 7 – 25

First quarter

WE – EJ Smith 64 pass from Nolan Ford (kick failed) 1:35

Second Quarter

ACS – Jax Cooper 9 run (kick good), 10:19

ACS – Cooper 15 pass from Brandon Baxter (kick good), 1:12

WE – Smith 20 pass from Ford (run failed), 0:11

Third quarter

WE – DeSean Gilbert 4 pass from Ford (conversion failed), 9:05

ACS – Baxter 1 run (kick good), 4:13

ACS – Jaquez McPeek 8 run (kick failed), 0:01

Fourth quarter

WE – Gilbert 99 interception return (kick good), 4:57{&end}

– Follow sports editor Jeff Nations on Twitter @Jeff_NationsBG or visit


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