DHS edges Thomasville 14-13 at jamboree

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 22, 2005

So THAT’S why they have pre-season games.

In a three-quarter exhibition game marred by penalties and miscues aplenty on both sides, Demopolis defeated Thomasville Friday night 14-13. As was fitting for the sloppy game, Demopolis took its winning margin from a missed Thomasville extra point in the third quarter.

While the contest may have been meaningless scrimmage on paper, the atmosphere in the stands and on the field made the game feel like anything but as a near-capacity crowd arrived ready to cheer their Tigers to a repeat of last year’s 36-6 jamboree victory.

After Demopolis’s first possession, it looked as if they might get their wish. On the game’s second play quarterback Dontrell Miller slashed up field for 20 quick yards, taking the ball near midfield. An unsportsmanlike conduct call against Thomasville and a 7-yard completion to wide receiver Giorgio Griffin set up Demopolis on the Thomasville 32, and Miller wasted no time capitalizing with a 32-yard touchdown strike to Griffin along the right sideline. Justin Davis hit the extra point for an early 7-0 lead.

Demopolis caught a break on Thomasville’s first possession as bruising fullback Shamus Hudson broke loose for a 63-yard touchdown run only for it to be negated by a holding call, the first of many for both teams. DHS linebacker Stephen Cupit then snuffed out a 3rd-and-12 screen for an 8-yard loss, forcing Thomasville to punt.

But Demopolis could not get their ground game going and would have to punt themselves after three short runs failed to net a first. The DHS defense made another big play on Thomasville’s second possession, Miller picking off Thomasville QB Jake Overstreet to keep the game 7-0 after one quarter of play.

But the Tigers failed to take advantage of the turnover when Miller was sacked and just missed connecting with Dwiuan White on a third-down 40-yard bomb. Thomasville would make DHS pay for wasting the opportunity as Hudson again shook himself loose, shrugging off Demopolis tacklers and rumbling 59 yards for a touchdown and a tie game.

Demopolis could not respond, Rock Jones picking up a yard on first down before two Miller incompletions forced the third consecutive Demopolis punt. Thomasville kept their momentum going, grinding out a series of first downs with Hudson and converting a third-and-ten screen pass. But with Thomasville inside the 20-yard line the Demopolis defense stiffened, blowing up an attempted Thomasville reverse for a six-yard loss before linebacker Tyler Moody and corner Griffin forced a pair of incompletions and turned the ball over on downs.

Despite their own best efforts, Demopolis would not be kept out of the end zone on their next possession, as even three separate DHS holding penalties and a fumble weren’t enough for Thomasville to prevent the Tigers from retaking the lead. A 15-yard Miller scamper on 2nd-and-18 set up Jones to get an initial first down. Then a lengthy run by Jones was called back, but White carried for 12 tough yards on a 3rd-and-8 end around to keep the drive going. A third Jones effort–this time a 13-yard screen pass–was negated by the third holding call, but freshman receiver Brian Taylor hauled in a 29-yard pass on 3rd-and-17 to give DHS a first down in scoring position.

Taylor then capped off the drive himself in bizarre fashion. A wide-open Jones made a reception in the center of the field and appeared headed for the end zone when he was hit on the 3-yard line and fumbled. The ball rolled to the 1 where Taylor scooped it up and dove into the end zone for six. The half would end with Demopolis up 14-7.

Unfortunately, Jones’s fumble would only be a harbinger of what was to come for both sides in the second half, as the two teams would combine to turn the ball over five times in the third quarter alone. Demopolis opened the half by forcing a Thomasville punt and receiving good field position at the Thomasville 49-yard line, but fumbled away the ball on their first play of the second half. Thomasville responded by pounding the ball at the Demopolis defense, an 11-yard Hudson run giving the visitors the ball at the Demopolis 7. But two plays later Thomasville fumbled themselves and when DHS recovered, it appeared the threat had passed.

Not quite. Miller and Jones failed to connect on a hand-off and Demopolis fumbled the ball back to Thomasville for the second consecutive play. This time Thomasville took advantage, Overstreet finding his tight end in the back of the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown. But the Thomasville placekicker pushed the extra point wide right and the score remained 14-13

After an exchange of punts, Demopolis lost the handle again, giving Thomasville the ball at the DHS 30-yard line. But Miller rose to the occasion again, snagging his second interception of the game to finish off the quarter and the full scrimmage at 14-13.

The scoreboard was cleared and the fourth quarter was played by the two teams’ junior varsity squads. Thomasville “won” the quarter 8-0 after a long touchdown run. Shantrell Braxton impressed for the Demopolis JV, finishing the quarter with 65 yards on only five carries and putting QB Scott Cannon in position for a last desperation heave that fell short.

Amongst the starters, Miller perhaps had the best game, finishing 6 of 12 passing for 120 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions, carrying the ball 9 times for 38 yards, and recording the two interceptions and a tackle for loss on defense.