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Survival the key in DHS win

Despite the toxic brew of penalties and turnovers and despite having played the worst offense of the season, the Demopolis High School Tigers football team toughed it out last night and survived the first round of the playoffs.

They made the right plays at the right time in the second half to defeat the Choctaw County Tigers for the second time this season, 14-12.

Both teams gave each other ample opportunities to win the game through turnovers and constant miscues.

The game began with an awful kickoff by Choctaw County. DHS had the ball at midfield but could not move it.

There were continous penalty flags in the first half, which stalled drives on both sides.

A Demopolis fumble with 5:53 left in the first gave Choctaw great field position, which they did nothing with.

Choctaw would give DHS the gift of a fumble with 11:36 left in the first quarter. Demopolis began on the Choctaw 19-yard line and on the second play Devin Goodwin hit Jonathan Sommers with a 21-yard TD pass. Devin’s extra point was good, and with 10:53 left in the first, DHS led by 7.

Choctaw fumbled again on the kickoff, and DHS had the ball on their 25-yard line. However, the scoring opportunity would end as Goodwin was intercepted.

Goodwin would also be intercepted on the next drive.

Penalty flags continued to fall in the second half, and there was little progress until Choctaw’s Dexter Leverette intercepted Goodwin with 1:22 left in the first half and ran 39 yards for a score.

The Choctaw extra point was no good, and the halftime score was 7-6 in favor of Demopolis.

Neither team made much progress during the third quarter. DHS had a great fake punt play as Dontrell Miller passed to Vincent Jackson for a first down. However, Demopolis would fumble the ball on the next play.

A block in the back penalty on a punt return put DHS deep in its own territory. A bad punt gave Choctaw the ball in great shape. Danny Anderson went on to run 10 yards for a touchdown with 5:22 left in the third.

The two-point conversion failed, and Choctaw led 12-7.

DHS could not move the ball, and Choctaw began a drive that saw them reach the Demopolis 35-yard line. It was fourth down and one and with 27.8 seconds in the third quarter, the DHS defense held.

Back on offense as the fourth quarter began, Rod Jones made a crucial first down at the DHS 41-yard line with 10:44 left in the game.

Dustin Gracie reached the Choctaw 35 yard line, and Jones finished off the eventual winning drive with a 36-yard TD run with 9:59 left in the game. The extra point was good.

The DHS defense stopped any additional threat from Choctaw, the offense ate up enough time at the end, and the final score was Demopolis 14-Choctaw 12.

The Demopolis home crowd appeared stunned for much of the game. There was not much joy after the win – just relief that there will be another game – and concern about an injury to quarterback Devin Goodwin on the inside part of his right leg.

Coach Doug Goodwin made no excuses. The team was not flat; the offense just played terrible in the first half, he said. You name it – the team was not blocking, and the backs were not running hard in the first half. Choctaw County gave Devin little time to throw, but the quarterback made some bad decisions at times, the coach said.

The Demopolis offense finally "had to knock them off the ball and run" to win the game.

Doug Goodwin praised the play of the defense throughout the game.

Demopolis will host Opp High School next week.