Nice try Northridge: DHS, Miller pound on Jags, 54-0

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 26, 2005

Somehow, it never gets old.

The Demopolis Tigers put together perhaps their most complete performance of the season Friday against 5A Northridge, stuffing the Jaguars powerful running attack and scoring at will on their way to a 54-0 rout.

The game belonged to the Tigers from the opening kick. The Demopolis defense forced a quick Jaguar three-and-out on the game’s first possession, setting DHS up in great field position at the Northridge 47. The offense would wasted no time capitalizing as on the Tiger’s initial play from scrimmage Dwiuan White took the handoff on the end around and went the distance down the right sideline, giving Demopolis a 7-0 lead before two minutes had expired in the quarter.

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Northridge would never draw even, although a series of Tiger mistakes on Northridge’s following possession would result in the visitors’ only scoring opportunity of the game. Although the DHS D forced another three-and-out, the resulting punt struck the Tiger’s Rob Quinney in the shin and Northridge reacted first to claim the fumble. From there the Jaguars drove all the way to the DHS 3, converting two third-and-shorts via Tiger offside penalties and another with a nine-yard pass from Chase Sprayberry to Riley Edwards.

But on third-and-goal from the 4 Giorgio Griffin brought down Northridge back Michael Doughty for minimal gain, and on fourth down DHS end Stephen Cupit and linebacker Jacob Smelley combined to stop the Jaguars’ Jermaine Robinson dead in his tracks. Northridge’s nearly-nine-minute possession went for nothing and the quarter ended with DHS up 7.

From there it was all Tigers. After a 12-yard first down run by Rock Jones gave DHS breathing space, the Tigers moved to the Northridge 35 and quarterback Dontrell Miller found senior wideout Willie Blount wide open on a corner route for six. Another Jaguar three-and-out gave DHS the ball on their own 35, but it took Demopolis only two plays to score as Miller hit Willie Gracey for a 60-yard completion on first down and Jones would score from five yards out on the following snap. Kicker Justin Davis hit his two extra point tries but missed the third, leaving the score 20-0

The teams traded interceptions on their next two possessions, Griffin picking Sprayberry off and Miller, under pressure, throwing an off-balance pass for his first interception of the season. But Miller found his stride again on DHS’s next drive, again getting the Tigers into the end zone on just two plays: a 43-yard strike to White and a 30-yard touchdown pass to White again. Miller then hit fullback Jacob Smelley for the two-point conversion and a 28-0 halftime lead.

Controversy struck the game with 3:39 left in the half, as Sprayberry and standout Demopolis linebacker Ezell Braxton were ejected from the game after a brief altercation. Braxton had leveled Sprayberry just as the Northridge quarterback had completed his handoff, and after the two players had lain on the turf for a moment Sprayberry appeared to violently yank Braxton’s facemask as the DHS player stood up. Both players were assessed unsportsmanlike penalties and were ejected from the game, much to the confusion of Braxton and the DHS coaching staff since Braxton had not physically retaliated.

Without Sprayberry the Jaguars offense struggled throughout the second half. Smelley picked off backup QB sophomore William Strickland at midfield on Northridge’s first possession of the third quarter, returning it to the Jaguar 36. An outstanding run by Miller put the ball on the Jaguar 2 and Miller hopped around left end untouched for the score two plays later.

The Tigers defense continued to dominate, recovering fumbles on the Jaguars’ next two possessions. Miller would then uncork another highlight-reel run, breaking several tackles and juking away from several more on a 29-yard scoring dash. Calvin Bryant scored from 16 yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter, and Jones scored his second TD filling in on defense as he returned another Northridge fumble 45 yards to paydirt. Davis and Reed Gardiner each added an extra point in the second half to make the final 54-0.