Photos by Robert Smith
Story by Robert Wilson
Park Place Christian Academy bounced back from two consecutive losses with a 33-22 victory at East Rankin Academy Friday night for its first MAIS Class 5A District 2 win of the season. Park Place jumped out to a 23-0 lead in the first half and held off an East Rankin second-half comeback to improve to 3-2 this season. East Rankin dropped to 1-4. Senior Brady Cruthirds ran 17 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns and caught four passes for 131 yards and one TD for Park Place. Junior quarterback Bryson Shupe completed 13 of 17 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns, an 80-yarder to Cruthirds and a 30-yarder to senior Keanu Thomas. Senior Presley Craddock kicked field goals of 25 and 23 yards and three extra points. Cruthirds also had two interceptions. Junior quarterback Mason Morgan accounted for all of the East Rankin points. He connected with senior Titan Henderson for a 55-yard TD pass, with senior Brock Tullos for a 36-yard TD pass, ran for a 13-yard TD and ran for a pair of two-point conversions. “I thought we played real well offensively and we responded well to adversity when East Rankin made a run at us,” Park Place coach Doug Elkins said. “Brady had an outstanding game on both sides of the ball. Presley’s two field goals were very important in the game. Our defense also came up with an important fourth down stop and had several turnovers.”Brad Breland is in his first year as head coach at East Rankin after winning 147 games in 19 seasons at Union High. He also was an assistant at Madison Central, Pearl and Noxapater. “We looked like we were sleep walking in the first quarter, stumbling around and not executing what we had worked on,” said Breland, whose brother, Jeff, is the defensive coordinator. “But we settled down and got into a groove offensively and played better defensively. We’ve got some great kids and they are beginning to understand what it takes to be successful.”East Rankin has won one game each of the past two seasons and hasn’t had a winning season since 2012.