Flashes fly into playoffs with rout of Riverfield

Published 1:36 am Saturday, October 20, 2018

The postseason will begin the same way as the regular season for St. Aloysius. The team it’s bringing there is decidedly different.

Phillip Upshaw ran for two touchdowns and threw for another, and the Flashes scored a defensive touchdown for the third week in a row as they hammered Riverfield Academy 34-6 in their regular-season finale on Friday night.

It was the fifth win in six games for the Flashes, after they lost four in a row to start the year. The first of those losses was to Leake Academy, who they’ll go on the road to face in the first round of the MAIS Class AAA playoffs next Friday night.

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St. Al (6-4, 4-1 District 3-AAA) will also finish with a winning record for the first time since 2014, after getting one of its early losses turned into a forfeit victory this week because ACCS used an ineligible player.

“It’s just been a total team effort. I’m glad to finish with a winning record. We’re bringing back the winning ways and bringing the tradition back,” St. Al coach Michael Fields said.

St. Al steadily pulled away from Riverfield with a balanced effort.

The Flashes scored one touchdown in each of the first three quarters, on a 13-yard run by Upshaw, a 6-yard pass from Upshaw to Evan Fedell, and a 90-yard hook-and-lateral play on which Preston McGowan took the pitch from Ryan Theriot.

They salted it away in the fourth quarter with another Upshaw TD run and a 30-yard interception return by Alvin Brown.

Brown’s touchdown was St. Al’s sixth defensive touchdown in its last three games. It also has one special teams touchdown in that span, and had a long punt return on Friday that set up a scoring drive.

“We dominated them pretty good,” Fields said. “The defense was great. We had some great punts to keep them pinned deep until the offense got going, and then once the offense got going it was lights out. Every facet of the game pitched in like we’ve been doing the last few weeks.”

Upsgaw finished the game 10-of-20 passing for 123 yards and one touchdown, and rushed for 66 yards and two TDs on 13 carries. Fedell caught five passes for 48 yards and a touchdown, and Theriot also caught five for 75 yards. Connor Smith went 5-for-5 on PATs and averaged 46.2 yards on three punts.

Nicholas Heath scored Riverfield’s only touchdown, on a 5-yard run in the third quarter. The Raiders (4-5, 3-2) lost for the third time in four games but still qualified for the Class AAA playoffs as the No. 14 seed. They’ll go on the road to face District 3-AAA champion and league rival Central Hinds next Friday night.
Central Hinds beat Riverfield 35-20 on Sept. 21.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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