DHS-LHS: Tiger dominance

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 20, 2005

For the second straight week, Demopolis dominated an all-but-outclassed regional opponent. But perhaps more importantly, the Tigers’ win against Livingston was the second straight week DHS had done so in all three phases of the game. In fact, the Tigers finished the night with touchdowns scored in five different ways:

The Running Game: The Tigers’ opening possession, a 10-play, 74-yard touchdown drive with every yard gained on the ground, showed DHS’s ability to control the game at the line of scrimmage. The game’s opening two plays from scrimmage were each nine-yard runs by Rock Jones, taking the ball from the DHS 26 to the 44, and an 11-yard run by fullback Jacob Smelley took the ball into Livingston territory. Even after penalties moved Demopolis back to their 47, the Tigers stayed on the ground as QB Dontrell Miller broke loose for an electrifying 30-yard run down to the LHS 23. Miller added nine more on the next play before Jones carried for eight and then six on his way to the end zone. The powerful drive took 4:26 off the clock and would set the tone for a game in which Demopolis would out-rush the Cougars 157 yards to 9.

The Tigers’ second score would come via the run as well, as junior Calvin Bryant bulled his way from the LHS 4 to the 1 and then dashed in one snap later. That kind of success inside the 5 was proven as well by the Tigers’ success on two-point conversions. Five times DHS went for two following a touchdown, all five times a running play was called, and all five times the Tigers converted: twice with Jones, twice with Bryant, and once with Lucious Haywood the ballcarrier.

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The Blocked Kick: After Livingston was stopped on their first possession, a low an mishandled snap meant that the Tigers’ Brad Braxton came within inches of blocking the Cougar punt. As the punt return unit came off the field, the DHS coaching staff made sure the players knew to come hard after the Cougars’ next effort, and it paid big dividends when LHS was again slow to get the punt off. A host of Tigers broke through the Cougar line with Smelley the one to block the punt at the LHS 4. Linebacker Tyler Moody plucked the punt our of midair at the 2 and scored easily with 5:03 left in the first half. DHS ended the half up 22-0 and have not yet been scored on in the first half in 2005.

The Defensive Return: For the second straight week the Tiger defense got in on the act, taking advantage of an opponent’s turnover to put six points of their own on the board. Whereas against Dallas County the points came by an interception (returned from midfield by safety Willie Blount) this time they came by fumble recovery. The hard-hitting Tigers forced six fumbles during the game and with 5:00 remaining in the third quarter, Braxton made the big play he so narrowly missed with the punt block, scooping up a loose ball and returning it all the way for six.

The Punt Return: A week after receiver Dwiuan White got the Tigers’ first special teams score of the year on a kickoff return, the dangerous Miller got his chance with 2:10 left in the third quarter. Poor Cougar field position and a short punt meant that after catching the punt, Miller had only 34 yards to paydirt and covered them in short order for a 38-0 Tiger lead after three.

The Passing Game: Miller made sure to get his name on the scoresheet in other ways as well. After a 45-yard bomb to Giorgio Griffin in Week 2 and an 80-yard strike to White in Week 3, Miller got the deep ball working again with a 27-yard TD to White and a 45-yard score to freshman Brian Taylor.

For all the offensive fireworks, however, the DHS defense was as dominant as ever, holding Livingston to 25 total yards (9 yards on 39 carries, 16 yards on 2-of-4 passing), the lowest total for a DHS opponent yet this season. The Tigers also forced four turnovers, with the three fumble recoveries and a Willie Gracie interception. DHS turned the ball over once, on a lost fumble.

Next up for the Tigers is 5A Northridge, this Friday at Memorial Stadium.

Editor’s Note: To ensure that our subscribers and newsstand customers receive their paper in a timely manner on Saturday morning, as of last Friday the Times is reducing the volume of coverage in our Saturday edition. As we also want to make sure our readers get the best coverage possible, we will be running articles like today’s which cover the game in greater depth on the Tuesday following.