ATKINS — The Atkins Red Devils opened conference play Friday with a heartbreaking 21-20 overtime loss to the Cedarville Pirates at Sorrels Stadium at Lemley Field.

The Red Devils (3-1, 0-1 3A-4) took an early 7-0 lead in the first half, yet Cedarville cut the gap to one with a touchdown of its own. However, the Red Devils blocked the point-after attempt giving them a 7-6 halftime lead.

The teams played to a 14-14 tie at the end of regulation after the Pirates (4-0, 1-0) were successful on a two-point conversion attempt to even the score.

Cedarville won the coin toss and deferred possession to the Red Devils to begin overtime.

Atkins quarterback Alex Spradlin scored on a keep to give the Red Devils a 20-14 lead. However, the Red Devils missed the ensuing PAT leaving the door open for the Pirates.

Cedarville scored on its first play from scrimmage to tie the game 20-20, and the Pirates secured the victory as the PAT soared through the uprights.

While Atkins head coach Tommy Cody was disappointed in his team’s loss, he was quick to note that it played well against a more athletic opponent.

"We played hard and fought the whole game. They were bigger, faster and stronger than us, but we played our guts out," Cody said. "We had a chance to win at the end of the game, and that is all you can ask for from your guys."

Cody added that Cedarville’s advantage in size hampered his team’s ability to run the football.

"Their defensive line was really big, so we had a hard time running the ball. We have got to do a better job blocking, but they were so good up front," Cody said.

Cody complimented Spradlin for his performance in Friday’s game.

"He made a lot of big plays for us. He definitely stood out and made some really good plays," Cody said. "Even though we were having a hard time running the ball, he found a way to make several big runs to keep drives alive."

Atkins will travel to Lavaca next week while Cedarville will head to Danville. Kickoff for both games is at 7 p.m.