Tigers play through flags to seal win

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 22, 2003

In a game wrought with adrenaline-pumped players, rowdy coaches and flag flipping officials, Demopolis High’s 40-6 homecoming win only seemed like the secondary story at Tiger Stadium on Friday.

Fayette County High head coach Waldon Tucker was evicted from the stadium (see sidebar), his team was whistled 17 times for 180 yards in penalties, and DHS didn’t fare much better, getting flagged 10 times for 115 yards.

Somewhere in between the 27 flags and 3-hour game, Demopolis High improved its mark to 8-0 on the season and solidified its stance as one of the most dominant offenses and defenses in Class 4A.

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For much of the first quarter, Demopolis seemed locked in a defensive battle with Fayette County, thanks in part to what could have been a costly penalty near the end of the quarter.

With 4:38 left in the first, quarterback Devin Goodwin hit Bart Pettus on a sideline route and Pettus sidestepped two defenders on his way to the endzone. One last defender between Pettus and the goal line knocked the ball out of Pettus’ hand on the seven yard line. At least six different players dove for the ball before Fayette County recovered the fumble in its own endzone for a touchback.

The DHS defensive unit, which hadn’t allowed a touchdown all year, held Fayette to three-and-out and helped the offense get the ball back with 3:32 left in the quarter.

And that’s what they did. Demopolis marched down the field, using up the rest of the quarter, and with 18 seconds left, Goodwin hit Jonathan Sommers on a 34-yard pass that gave the Tigers their first points of the game.

Fayette looked like they would answer the scoring drive with one of their own. The visiting Tigers relied on the run and quick slants to methodically move the ball down field. But on third-and-six, Fayette quarterback Seth Harkness missed his receiver and hit DHS defensive back Dontrell Miller between the numbers. The only thing between Miller and his endzone were DHS blockers and 91 yards, and Miller out-sprinted everyone for DHS’s second score of the game.

Leading 13-0 in the second, Demopolis High struck again when Goodwin hit Dustin Gracie on a 15-yard pass with 1:32 left in the first half.

Though DHS could have become distracted by the antics and eventual ejection of Tucker during the halftime break, the homestanding Tigers opened the second half with a quick score.

Because of two unsportsmanlike penalties and an off-sides against Fayette, the visiting Tigers were forced to kick off from their own seven yard line. Demopolis High, which also was whistled for an unsportsmanlike penalty one play later, struck from 56 yards out when Goodwin hit Pettus for a touchdown with 11:28 left in the third quarter.

Six minutes later, after the DHS defense held Fayette again, Goodwin connected with Colby Roberts on a 44-yard pass play for a touchdown with 5:40 left in the third.

Demopolis would tack on one more touchdown with 9:05 left in the fourth when Rock Jones scampered in from five yards out. The point-after by Goodwin was good, giving DHS a 40-0 lead.

Maybe the only disappointment on the night came with 6:43 left in the game when Fayette converted on a 22-yard pass play to score their one and only touchdown of the game. For the season, that was the first time any offense had scored against the Demopolis High defense.

For the game, Devin Goodwin completed 11-of-13 passes for 237 yards and four touchdowns. Jones led the Tigers on the ground with 100 yards on 13 carries. Pettus caught five passes for 113 yards to lead the receiving corps for the Tigers.

Next week, Demopolis High travels to Plantersville to take on Dallas County High School.