Bring on Thomasville
Published 12:00 am Monday, November 14, 2005
DEMOPOLIS–Two down. Two to go.
The Demopolis Tigers took another step towards a potential second straight berth in the Super 6 with a commanding 42-7 victory over ninth-ranked Rehobeth Friday night. The Tigers scored touchdowns on their first three possessions and shut the Rebels out in the second half to extend their winning streak to 27 consecutive games, tied with Oneonta for tops in the state.
“I thought really the whole game, but especially the first part of the first half, our team played very, very well,” said Demopolis head coach Doug Goodwin. “Our guys came ready to play.”
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“Speed kills,” said Rehobeth head coach George Kennedy, as a way of explanation for his team’s defeat. “We don’t see that kind of speed, we can’t simulate that kind of speed. We just got beat by a better football team.”
Demopolis set the tone for the game from the opening kickoff, forcing a three-and-out on Rehobeth’s first possession and taking over on the Rebel 48. The Tigers pounded the ball down the field, running on eight plays of a nine-play scoring drive capped by Rock Jones’s 1-yard touchdown run from a yard out. Justin Davis’s extra-point try was no good, leaving the score 6-0 with 4:20 remaining in the quarter.
The Rebels’ second possession went no better than the first. as on third down the Tigers’ Giorgio Griffin picked off a Tramekius James pass intended for Justin Patrick. Starting from their own 32, this time the Tigers went to the air and found just as much success. Dontrell Miller hit Brad Braxton once for 17 yards and Rob Quinney twice for 33, and along with a 17-yard run by Jones the Tigers moved to the Rebel 1 in only four plays. Jones got his second score from there with 1:02 left in the quarter and Miller connected with Quinney for a third time to give Demopolis a 14-0 lead.
The first quarter finished with that 14-point lead and a 120-10 edge in total yards for Demopolis, but Rehobeth wasn’t ready to go home quite yet. Phillip DeBose got the Rebels their initial first down on a tough third-and-five run from the 40, and a personal foul call against the Tigers moved the ball into Demopolis territory for the first time at the 35. Dewitt Hogan broke free on the next snap to take the ball inside the 5 and the senior finished the drive with a five-yard run two plays later. Casey Merrill’s extra point was good and the lead was cut to 14-7 with 10:32 left in the half.
But that was as close as Rehobeth would get as the Tigers responded with another methodical drive. Miller found Quinney again for 21 yards and a first down at the Rehobeth 39, and six snaps later Jacob Smelley bulled his way in from the 2. Davis’s extra point was good and with 7:12 remaining Demopolis’s lead was back to 14.
The Tigers looked poised to break the game open even further when Miller escaped from the Rebel pass rush and carried from the Rehobeth 46 to the 18. But a holding call pulled the Tigers back and proved doubly costly when a Miller pass intended for Willie Gracey was tipped and picked off by Rehobeth’s Johnny Welch.
The teams went to halftime with the score still 21-7, but it wouldn’t stay that way long as an exchange of punts and a slithery Dontrell Miller punt return resulted in great field position for the Tigers at the Rebel 37. Jones took advantage, running for 27 of those yards on four carries and notching his third score of the night from nine yards out. Davis was good again and Demopolis took a 28-7 lead with 6:01 remaining in the third.
Demopolis would soon put the game out of reach for good. On the Rebels’ following possession James’s third-down pass appeared to be tipped by Demopolis’s Ezell Braxton and came down in the arms of the Tigers’ Willie Gracey. With the help of a devastating Miller block, Gracey carried 46 yards to the Rebel 14. Jones scored his fourth touchdown one play later and the quarter ended with Demopolis up 28, 35-7.
A 17-yard Hogan run took Rehobeth to the Tiger 25 on their next possession, but Ezell Braxton recovered a fumble to end the threat.
A second Smelley score on fourth-and-goal from the 2 capped Demopolis’s scoring with 6:35 left in the game. The Rebels moved to the Tiger 28 on a Jason Kennedy run with under two minutes to play, but got no closer and James’s desperation pass fell incomplete as time ran out.
Afterwards, Kennedy was disappointed by the result but proud of his team’s 10-2 season.
“We had a great year,” he said. “We went 3-7 last year, so to go from 3-7 to 10-2’s pretty good. We’re not pleased with tonight’s outcome, but I’m pleased with the year we had.”
Goodwin had praise for the Rebels’ effort as well.
“Their team played hard,” he said. “They’ve got a good football team.”
But in the end, the tigers were just a little too good on both sides of the ball.
“Our defense played fantastic,” Goodwin said. “I thought we did what we wanted to on offense. We ran when we wanted and threw the ball when we wanted. We just played a good game.”
Demopolis moves on to face