Missed chances put end to perfect season

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 4, 2003

The season for the Demopolis High Tigers football team ended Friday night as they couldn’t overcome the play of a strong Trinity High Wildcats team and lost 33-27.

The Tigers needed to be as sharp as they were last week against UMS-Wright, but killer turnovers, key special team mistakes and the fine performance of Trinity’s Tommy Trott kept DHS playing catch-up all night.

The first minutes of the game were promising. Trinity began their drive on the 20-yard line, but a sack by Dontrell Miller, a false start penalty and the tough DHS defense made them punt from deep in their own territory.

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After Miller’s return, the Tigers had the ball on the Wildcat 29-yard line, but they fumbled on the first play with 9:59 left in the first quarter. Trinity would move the ball to the DHS 35-yard line, but a fumble (recovered) then a sack by Ezell Braxton forced a punt.

DHS started on their 10-yard line. They could only move to the 18-yard line. Another Tiger mistake was not being able to execute the punt, and Devin Goodwin desperately pitched to a lineman which brought an illegal touching penalty.

Trinity had the ball on the DHS seven-yard line. All it took was a pass from Rory McKean to Trott for a touchdown. Thomas Hooper’s extra point was good, and with 5:20 left in the first quarter, the Wildcats led by 7.

Chad Schroeder couldn’t keep his balance on the kickoff return so the Tigers had to start from their nine-yard line. Miller was caught behind the line, and DHS couldn’t get their passing game going.

To add insult to injury the punt was blocked, and Trinity had the ball on the six-yard line. Quarterback Mckean ran the ball in for the score.

The extra point was again good, and with 4:19 left in the first, the Wildcats led by 14.

The Tigers slowly got a drive starting at the 20-yard line. A pass to Jonathan Sommers got the ball to the 38-yard line. A 35-yard pass to Bart Pettus and a 23-yard pass to Sommers brought the ball down to the 10-yard line. Devin Goodwin would attempt a field goal at the beginning of the second quarter, but it was no good.

Fortunately, Trinity gave DHS the gift of a fumble on their next series. The Tigers had the ball on the 25-yard line, and Goodwin passed to Pettus for a TD. Goodwin’s extra point was good, and with 10:58 left in the first half, the Tigers were on the scoreboard, down 14-7.

A muffed kickoff allowed Trinity to begin their next drive on the 45-yard line. However, a failed lateral pass to Taylor Hoyt was picked up by Dontrell Miller and run to the Wildcat 11-yard line. Two runs by Rod Jones got the ball to the two-yard line, and Jacob Smelly ran in for the touchdown.

The extra point was good, and with 9:34 left in the second quarter, the score was tied 14-14.

Tiger fans wouldn’t feel good for long. Despite a sack of McKean on their second play of the new series, passes to Trott were unstoppable. Dontrell Miller couldn’t hold on as Trott took the second pass 65 yards into the end zone with 7:57 left in the first half.

The extra point was good, and the score was Trinity 21-DHS 14.

The Tigers moved on their next drive to midfield, but another fumble stopped the momentum and gave the Wildcats the ball on the DHS 38-yard line. A pass to Trott brought the ball to the 12-yard line. Austin Hoyt got the ball to the eight-yard-line where a Trinity 25-yard field goal hit the cross bar and went in. With 4:14 left in the second quarter, the Wildcats led 24-14.

The fine Trinity kicking made Demopolis start from their own 20 all night long. An illegal foward pass penalty on Goodwin stalled out the next DHS drive. The Wildcats couldn’t move from midfield. However, Goodwin would be intercepted with 1:13 left on the first play of the next Tiger drive.

Trinity had the ball on the 10-yard line. The DHS defense forced a 28-yard field goal try with 34.1 seconds left. The kick was good, and the halftime score was Trinity 27-DHS 14.

The Tigers couldn’t move the ball on the first drive of the third quarter. Beginning on the DHS 40-yard line, McKean hit Coleman Farrior for a 26-yard pass to the 14-yard line. Despite losing yardage on the next play, McKean passed 14 yards to Hoyt for a TD.

The extra point was no good, and with 9:32 left in the third, the Wildcats had a commanding lead 33-14.

DHS went backwards on its next series and after the punt, Trinity had the ball on the DHS 30-yard line. Good Tiger defense and an illegal receiver downfield penalty forced the Wildcats to punt.

The Tiger offense got going again. Beginning at their own nine-yard line, passes to Pettus and runs by Miller and Sommers moved DHS to their 28-yard line. Despite a false start flag, Goodwin hit Sommers with an eight-yard pass and then passed 32 yards to Pettus.

Miller scored from the 32-yard line with 3:42 left in the third. The extra point was good, and Trinity led 33-21.

The Wildcats had to punt on their next series, but Demopolis fumbled to Trinity then regained the ball on the next play from a Wildcat fumble. All this meant Demopolis had the ball on the Trinity 43-yard line as the third quarter ended.

This drive would prove decisive for the Tigers’ chances for a comeback. With 11:48 left in the game, Michael Lee caught a 27-yard pass from Goodwin to reach the nine-yard line. Lee was hurt on the play and had to be taken off the field by ambulance, waving encouragement to the players and crowd as he left.

The Tigers moved ever closer to the end zone. Runs by Scroeder and Goodwin got the ball to the one-yard line. However, Rod Jones was denied the end zone on fourth down and one. With 9:35 left in the game, the ball was turned over on downs.

Trinity brought the ball to the five-yard line then punted. Despite the hard running of Dontrell Miller to get to the Wildcat 22-yard line, a sack with 4:10 left forced a punt.

The Tiger defense again kept Trinity deep in its territory, and Miller brought the punt return to the Wildcat 16-yard line.

Demopolis would score for the final time with a 16-yard pass to Pettus with 1:46 left in the game. The extra point was no good, and the final score proved to be 33-27.

An on-side kick by DHS was not successful.

The Demopolis Tigers fought hard Friday night, but timely mistakes hurt their chances. DHS had another great 13-1 season and should be proud of their efforts despite missing out again on the championship game.