Snook Christian Academy closes regular season with 62-14 loss to Crenshaw, readies for playoffs

Eagle seniors Butts, Joiner record rushing touchdowns in final home game of high school careers

By Cole McNanna
Sports Editor
cole@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 10/29/22

SUMMERDALE – Seniors Philip Butts and Hayden Joiner, who helped revive the Snook Christian Academy football program, both scored touchdowns on senior night to close the Eagles’ regular …

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Snook Christian Academy closes regular season with 62-14 loss to Crenshaw, readies for playoffs

Eagle seniors Butts, Joiner record rushing touchdowns in final home game of high school careers

Posted

SUMMERDALE – Seniors Philip Butts and Hayden Joiner, who helped revive the Snook Christian Academy football program, both scored touchdowns on senior night to close the Eagles’ regular season with a 62-14 loss to the Crenshaw Christian Academy Cougars Friday night.

Snook, as the No. 4 seed from Class 1A Region 2 within the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) following last week’s victory over Sparta Academy, moves onto its first-round playoff matchup against Lowndes Academy.

Friday night, the Eagles’ two touchdown scorers differed by about four inches in height and about 100 pounds of weight but both short-yardage rushing touchdowns came on the same play call and counted for six points.

Snook’s first All-Star opens scoring

Butts (5’ 9”, 175 pounds), who was in at quarterback for the injured Robert Dunn, hit pay dirt on a 4-yard rush that capped an 11-play, 67-yard drive in the second quarter which survived a fumbled snap and a fourth down.

“14, 15 Power is what I run at quarterback well, so I knew it was going to be open whenever they lined up in the four-man front. I was like, ‘Let's do it,’” Butts said. “I knew the gap was going to be behind the big center Hayden and so I just followed him into the end zone.”

He had done that plenty this season for the Eagles, and that made an impact on opposing AISA coaches. Butts was recently named the first Snook football player chosen to represent the school at the league’s All-Star game.

Big Man touchdown from the Wildcat

Joiner (6’ 1”, 280 pounds), a two-way lineman who kicked an extra point earlier this season, put the bow on a 12-play, 65-yard drive in the fourth quarter that similarly used a delayed snap count to draw the Crenshaw defense offsides on a fourth down.

With the ball at the 1-yard line, the Eagles used a timeout and head coach Keith Smith drew Joiner’s number. The lineman lined up as the quarterback, took a direct snap and bowled over a would-be Cougar defender before plunging into the end zone for the touchdown.

“Coach called me over and he called 14 Power and he said, ‘This is your chance,’” Joiner said. “I thought, ‘I have to get this 280 pounds through the hole.’ So I looked, and my left guard had a good matchup with the middle linebacker, and the rest was history.”

Marquee scorers in Snook history

Smith said it was fitting for two crucial members of the school’s largest senior class to find the end zone in the last home game of their high school careers.

After the Eagles made their first postseason in 2018, they didn’t have enough players to field a team the following year. However, Smith said it was Butts, Joiner and the Class of 2023 who helped bring the Snook football squad back to life.

“He and Philip both, and Robert too, they have been a part of the program since the very beginning – since they were little bitty jokers in seventh grade – and have been with us through thick and thin so it meant a lot to see them get a score,” Smith said.

Smith: ‘It’s poetic’ to have this group earn a playoff berth

Two seasons removed from not having enough players to field a team, the Eagles are heading back to the postseason and Smith said it felt like a storybook ending to a history-making senior class.

“I mean, they've earned it. Without a doubt, they've earned that right to go to playoffs,” Smith said. “Philip and Hayden's group is the one that brought this back. They've hung with us through thick and thin, and there's been a lot of thin. They've hung with us and all year long – we've won one ballgame this year – they’ve played hard and they’ve played their guts out; getting the win last week was very, very sweet. The fact that they are the group that gets us back into playoffs, is awesome. It's poetic.”

Up next

Snook Christian Academy finished the regular season 1-9 overall and 1-3 in Class 1A Region 2. The Eagles will hit the road next Friday to face the Lowndes Academy Rebels, who took down Hooper Academy 48-31 tonight to finish 8-2 overall and 4-0 in Region 1.

Crenshaw Christian Academy finished 7-3 overall and 3-1 in Region 1 for the No. 2 seed. The Cougars host Wilcox Academy in the first round of the playoffs next Friday night.

Money quotes

“A lot of us are half sick and coming back from the flu. A lot of us were injured but we competed with what we had,” Butts said. “We had guts, we played through injuries and through our sickness.”

“It means a lot (to score on senior night),” Joiner said. “I've always wanted to score a touchdown since 10th grade when I got my first rushing attempt.”

“It felt like the walking wounded limping out there but they just kept coming. I'm proud of them,” Smith said. “I'm proud of them for getting in the playoffs. That was a big win last week, they could have hung their head and packed it in last week. They didn't. I mean, they laid it out on the field and I think they did tonight too. They played as hard as they could play.”

Other Baldwin County final scores

Alabama Christian 43, Bayside Academy 18

Baldwin County 51, Robertsdale 27

Daphne 34, Hillcrest-Evergreen 14

Elberta 28, Citronelle 27

Fairhope 44, Briarwood Christian 22

Foley 28, Jackson-Olin 12

Gulf Shores 56, B.C. Rain 27

Orange Beach 31, Fruitdale 16

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