County Pickens pushes back Decatur Heritage despite another stellar Brayden Kyle effort

Decatur Heritage had a record-breaking night from its senior quarterback and a late rally of goals, but fell short of Pickens County 60-46 in the third round of the Class 1A football playoffs.

The Tornados (11-2) will host Wadley (12-1) on Friday in the semi-finals. The teams have never met in football.

Brayden Kyle finished with five touchdown passes and one rushing score to set a new one-season touchdown mark for the Eagles with 70 and had one interception on defense. He also set a season record for combined yards. Tyler Founds added an 88 yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Decatur Heritage coach Steve Meek in his last game as head coach praised Kyle as the quarterback wraps up his high school football career.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Meek said. “He’s a competitor and a leader.

Meek, who has coached 11 of the school’s 12 seasons, finishes with an overall score of 86-42 in DHCA with a 10-8 record in the playoffs and a 47-17 total in regional play with four regional titles.

“I wasn’t looking for this when I found this,” Meek said of the opportunity to lead the Eagles. “It’s a thing of God.”

Pickens County quarterback Javion Belle-McCrary had a huge game with four rushing touchdowns and two assists. He also converted two conversions of 2 points with an assist and a run each. Jacoris Barnes returned from the punt for a touchdown. Korbit Sommerville and Adonta Warner each got a score on the ground.

Pickens County set the tone early on with their defense, tackling Kyle for sacks and losses on runs throughout the first half. The Tornados were leading 28-6 at halftime and built a 52-18 lead late in the third quarter. Belle-McCrary scored on a 4-yard run to build that 34-point lead with 1:19 left in the third quarter.

“We knew we had to jump on them quickly,” Tornados coach Michael Williams said. “They have an explosive offense.”

Belle-McCrary credited the Pickens County offensive and defensive lines for taking control of the game in the first half.

“Both dominated the line of scrimmage,” said Belle-McCray. “We went too high (in the second half).”

Decatur Heritage (10-3) would not fold. The Eagles jumped to under 13 with 4:51 left in regulation on three Kyle touchdown passes. Two went to Alex Malone (39 and 34 yards) and another to Paxton Tarver for 44 yards.

Pickens County sealed the victory with Belle-McCrary’s 33-yard run with 2:31 left. He tacked the 2 point conversion with a run.

“We started to fight,” Sommerville said of the Eagles’ comeback effort. “We need to be more disciplined.

Kyle topped the scoring with a 25-yard pass to Tarver with about 57 seconds left in the contest.

– R. Sirvel Carter

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