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American Christian Academy had already clinched its region title before Friday night, but a 49-14 win over region opponent West Blocton – the Patriots’ 18th straight region win since joining Class 4A in 2018 – left no doubt who reigns in Region 3.

ACA, which has been ranked No. 1 in Class 4A in the Alabama Sports Writers Association poll every week dating back to early August, scored touchdowns on six consecutive drives and limited big plays by West Blocton’s run-heavy, double-wing offense.

“We knew it was going to be a very physical football game; that’s the style of football West Blocton plays,” ACA coach Chris Smelley said.

Senior Kamari Lassiter, a four-star cornerback who committed to Georgia on Thursday, scored touchdowns of 59 and 60 on passes from senior quarterback Hunter Sute. He finished with 3 catches for 122 yards in his first game as a Georgia commit and added several open-field tackles.

“I’m the same person, just a lot more relieved now,” Lassiter said of his first game since making his college decision. “I think I played alright. I got a couple of things that I want to improve for next week because we got a big game, but overall I think I did OK. Not my best.”

Sute finished the game 8 of 13 for 264 yards and four touchdowns. His first touchdown pass of the night went to senior wide receiver Cam Jeffery, and his last was a 79-yard heave to sophomore receiver Sawyer Deerman.

Senior Brandon Waller led the way for the Patriots on the ground, carrying the ball nine times for 161 yards and three touchdowns. He scored on runs of 18, 38 and 18 yards and added a 33-yarder and a 31-yarder.

“That’s my right-hand man,” Lassiter said. “B-Wall and I are close. We’re going to be close, lifelong friends.”

West Blocton ran the ball on 61 of 68 plays, gaining 297 rushing yards and holding the ball for drives of 13 and 14 plays, but most of the damage was done in the second half when the result was no longer in doubt.

“I was proud of our defense for stepping up and shutting them out in the first half, which is hard to do,” Smelley said. “They run a non-traditional offense for what you see most of the time today, so there was a lot to plan for and prep for.”

ACA (9-0 overall, 6-0 in Region 3) hosts Mars Hill (8-1) next week and will host the No. 4 seed from Region 2 in the first round of the playoffs.

“We’re playing a really good Mars Hill team; they’re ranked No. 1 in 2A,” Smelley said. “Our guys are going to get re-focused, and they’ve shown a lot of maturity preparing week to week.”

Despite the loss, West Blocton (5-4, 4-3) clinched the No. 4 seed in Region 3 and will play at Alabama Christian Academy in the first round. The Tigers close their regular season at Dora next week.

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