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UMS-Wright ends the Tigers’ dream

It had the makings of a dream season: an undefeated team and a town firmly behind them.

They were one game away from a trip to the championship. However, there was a defending champion you had to go through to get there, and they were having nothing of it.

Throughout the 13 wins this season, the Demopolis High School Tigers football team have been normally in control, so focused and commanding. Even in games where they seemed sluggish, they seemed to find their focus at the opportune time – either on offense and defense.

Therefore, it was shocking to see Demopolis never really get on track in Friday’s game with defending 4-A champion UMS-Wright.

The Bulldogs physically dominated the Tigers in the first quarter scoring two touchdowns on two long drives. Even though the DHS defense was able to adjust and stop the bleeding, UMS-Wright was able to keep their 14 point lead throughout the game, add a field goal in the fourth quarter for good measure and end the Tigers’ dream of a state championship.

The Bulldogs came right down the field with the opening drive. They scored with 7:28 left in the first on a Taylor Atchison one-yard run. Taylor McMullen’s point-after-touchdown kick was good, and the score was UMS 7-DHS 0.

Senior Tiger quarterback Dusty Goodwin has been a standout player this season not only for Demopolis but in the state; unfortunately he had a nightmare evening Friday. He was harassed all night long by Bulldog defenders who were not going to allow the usually explosive DHS offense to get started.

The bad news for Dusty started with a bad punt in the first quarter that gave UMS the ball at midfield. They would drive again to the goal line, scoring with a pass from Atchison to Ashley Wright. The PAT was again good, and with only 1:28 left in the first quarter, UMS-Wright was up by 14.

Dusty was intercepted early in the second quarter, but UMS was likewise intercepted by William Scott.

Then Dusty had to run down a bad snap just to get a punt off. Thankfully, the Tiger defense stiffened and shut down anymore Bulldog scoring opportunities in the first half.

With under a minute left in the first half, it appeared DHS was going to go in for a score, but time ran out and the Tiger rally ended on the UMS-Wright 16-yard line.

The Tiger defense slowed down the UMS offense in the second half, but the Bulldogs had plenty of opportunities to score. The Tiger offense, on the other hand, sputtered throughout the second half.

The Bulldogs attempted field goals at 3:43 in the third and 11:22 left in the fourth quarter. In the first instance an illegal procedure took a field goal off the scoreboard and put UMS farther back. The second field goal attempt by McMullen then failed.

The next field goal attempt hit the goal post and failed. With the first two field goal failures, the Tigers would dodge another bullet, and the large crowd of Demopolis fans Friday night hoped the vaunted offense would come to the rescue.

It was not to be.

Dusty’s punt with 9:09 left in the game was blocked. The Bulldogs had the ball on Demopolis’ 20-yard line and would eventually kick a successful field goal with 7:30 left.

That 17-point lead would prove enough to allow UMS-Wright to return to the state championship.

The Tigers last hopes for a score were dashed when Dusty was sacked on fourth down with 2:54 left in the game.

Dusty Goodwin was visually shaken by the game, and he was consoled by his mother and friends on the field. He and the other Demopolis players, many with tears in their eyes, can hold their heads high.

They are part of a historic 13-1 Tiger team who dominated the majority of the teams they played. DHS just met their match Friday with an impressive UMS-Wright team who don’t make many mistakes, and with the many mistakes by Demopolis, the Tigers still held the Bulldogs to 17 points.

No matter the outcome Friday night, this was a magic season for the DHS team and the host of fans that rallied behind them.

The future is bright for Demopolis High School football with so many young and exciting players who will return next season.

Demopolis had 11 first downs to UMS-Wright’s 18.

The Tigers rushed 27 times for 144, and the Bulldogs ran 37 times for 246 yards. Marco Rembert showed flashes at times with 16 rushes resulting in 117 yards.

DHS was 12 of 20 in passing with 92 yards and one interception, and UMS-Wright

was eight of 17 for 92 yards and one interception.

Demopolis had 236 total yards, and the Bulldogs had 343 total yards.

The Tigers fumbled once, and UMS-Wright fumbled four times. None were lost.

DHS punted five times for a 26.8-yard average, and the Bulldogs punted twice for a 32-yard average.

The Tigers were penalized three times for 25 yards, and UMS-Wright drew eight penalties for 55 yards.

The time of possession was 19:20 for DHS, and 28:40 for the Bulldogs.

13-1 UMS-Wright will play 14-0 North Jackson at 7 p.m. on December 5 in Birmingham’s Legion Field.