Turnovers plague Demopolis

Published 11:53 pm Friday, September 19, 2008

WETUMPKA – Demopolis (1-3, 1-1) spotted region foe Carver 22 points before showing signs of life en route to a 47-22 loss Friday night.

“Turnovers,” DHS head coach Tom Causey said simply following the loss. “Turnovers in the first quarter, it was a 14-point swing.”

The Tigers managed a quick three-and-out on their first drive before punting the ball away. Carver teased the run game early when quarterback Reginald Aaron tossed the ball right to running back Andrew Pitts who pulled up and hurled a 61-yard touchdown pass to Threll Tyus on the Wolverines’ first play from scrimmage. Carver’s two-point conversion attempt was no good, leaving the Wolverines with a 6-0 lead.

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“They had two one-play drives,” a frustrated Causey said.

Two possessions later, Demopolis took over at its own 19 following a Carver punt. On first down, the Tigers committed their first of five turnovers on the night when the snap sailed past Rick Boone and into the end zone before ultimately being recovered by a Wolverine defender for the touchdown. The point after made the score 13-0 for Carver.

A flat Demopolis sideline made its first noise of the night when quarterback Rick Boone broke a 23-yard run up the middle to get the Tigers out of the shadow of their own goal line for the first time in the game. Three plays later, Demopolis was forced to punt.

After watching Carver march down the field and put three more points on the board with a field goal, the Demopolis offense took the field again. This time the Tiger drive was squelched on its fourth play when a Boone pass was picked off and returned to the Carver 30-yard line.

Carver proceeded to march the ball down the field, reaching the 12-yard line of Demopolis before senior linebacker Greg Irvin blasted Aaron in the backfield, forcing a fumble that was scooped up by Kerby and returned 35 yards to the Wolverine 40.

Demopolis then managed only eight yards before turning the ball over on downs. On the only play of the ensuing possession, Aaron hit Tyus for a 68-yard touchdown pass. The point after failed, leaving the game at 22-0.

“No matter what happens, we’ve got to stay together and go hard as one unit,” Irvin said of the mentality he believes the Tiger defense must adopt as it moves forward this season.

Demopolis broke through for the first time on the next possession when it put together an eight-play, 65-yard touchdown drive that culminated in a 30-yard scoring run by sophomore DaMarcus James. Kerby punched in the two-point conversion try to cut the score to 22-8.

Demopolis threatened again on its next possession when James broke a 65-yard run down to the Carver six-yard line, setting the Tigers up for a potential score with less than a minute remaining in the half. However, the threat was neutralized when Demopolis coughed up the ball at the five.

The second half opened much the same way as the first for DHS as Pitts broke an 80-yard run on the first play from scrimmage to pad the Carver lead.

A few possessions later, Boone seemed to settle into the offense. After a 21-yard run by James, Boone carried the ball 20 yards for a Demopolis touchdown. That left the score at 28-15 after Tyler Brooker’s extra-point kick.

“The game finally came to him,” Causey said of Boone.

Pitts later added another score on a 17-yard run. At 35-15, all looked bleak before Boone constructed his best drive of the season thus far.

The Tiger signal caller went 3-for-3 passing on the next possession, connecting with Fred Irby and Anthony Hardy before hitting Brian Taylor on a 49-yard touchdown pass to knife into the Wolverine lead.

“He was like, ‘Just stay relaxed,’” Boone said of a conversation he shared with Causey. “He said if he thought I couldn’t do it, I wouldn’t be the one back there.”

“He made some good reads in the second and third quarter,” Causey said of his quarterback.

Demopolis appeared to be alive when Hardy went up and picked off an Aaron pass to end the next Carver drive. However, a roughing the passer call that drew considerable objection from the DHS sideline put the ball back in Carver hands. Though the Wolverines did not score on the possession, they did milk more than four minutes off the game clock, making the Tigers’ task more difficult. Carver eventually went on to add two late scores to pad the lead.

“It’s really nothing to turn around,” Boone said. “We’ve just got to get better every week. Great teams get better every week.”

“It’s just attitude,” Causey said of his team’s primary struggles. “We’ve got to change our attitude and get better.”

The Tigers surrendered 538 yards of total offense to the Wolverines whose balanced attack netted 269 yards through the air and on the ground. Conversely, Demopolis put up 381 yards, including 246 on the ground.

James led the way with 200 yards rushing on 18 carries. Defensively, Irvin racked up 15 tackles while sophomore corner Rusty Palmer tallied eight stops.

The loss marked the second time this season Demopolis has dropped a game to a 2007 6A team. Both instances have come in Wetumpka. With the defeat, Demopolis is now 0-3 away from the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium.