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Demopolis sacks Thomasville

Demopolis built a two-touchdown lead early and scarcely looked back en route to a 35-20 win road win over Thomasville Thursday night.

“Thomasville played their tail off tonight,” DHS head coach Tom Causey said. “We knew it was going to be a 48-minute war.”

Causey’s team appeared to have the upperhand early as it forced Thomasville to a three-and-out on the opening possession of the game before taking over at its own 40 yard line. The visiting Tigers managed nine yards on three plays before opting to make a last-ditch effort to move the chains on fourth down from just outside midfield.

The play, designed to move the chains, got Demopolis on the scoreboard when senior Shelby Speegle caught senior Rick Boone’s pass, shook a tackle and ran 51 yards for a touchdown.

The Demopolis defense then continued to stand strong, holding Thomasville to six yards on its first 10 plays from scrimmage.

“Thomasville is a great rushing offense. We were going to try to be solid against the run and force them to throw it,” Causey said.

On the first play of the home team’s fourth possession, DHS senior Greg Irvin forced a fumble that was recovered by junior Tremaine Sanders. That set Demopolis up 36 yards from paydirt.

The visiting Tigers needed six plays to go the duration and ultimately score on a two-yard run by senior Jacob Kerby.

Thomasville answered on the next possession, using five plays to go 51 yards and cut the score to 14-7. The drive saw Thomasville largely abandon the run as it chewed up 33 yards through the air.

Demopolis fired right back on the next play from scrimmage when sophomore DaMarcus James ran 78 yards for a score to extend the lead to 21-7.

Thomasville then assembled its most complete drive of the evening, utilizing 14 plays to march 71 yards before punching the ball into the end zone on a nine-yard run.

Demopolis responded in kind on the ensuing possession, requiring only five plays and a personal foul penalty to go 65 yards. The climactic play of the possession came in the form of an eight-yard touchdown pass from Boone to senior wideout Brian Taylor.

“They forced us to slow that thing down,” Causey said of Thomasville’s effect on his offense.

The Taylor end zone strike left Demopolis with a 28-14 halftime lead.

Demopolis started the second half much the same way it ended the first, half much the same way it ended the first. After taking over at their own 39, the visiting Tigers assembled an 11-play drive that ended in the end zone despite two holding penalties along the way.

The drive was highlighted by a 40-yard Boone run and capped by a one-yard scoring run from James.

“We just did what we did every day in practice,” senior center Morgan LeCroy said of the team’s mentality in overcoming miscues and what many perceived to be questionable calls. “We shook it off.” That mentality served Demopolis well down the stretch it appeared to have the game put away on the next possession when James broke a 75-yard run to the end zone. However, a holding call negated the play. Two plays later, a strong run by Kerby was negated by another holding call.

Instead of the four-touchdown lead, Demopolis found itself punting from up against its own goal line. Thomasville blocked the attempt and recovered it in the end zone, cutting the score to 35-20.

“We handled ourselves well,” Boone said. “We kept our composure and stayed calm.”

“I think each one of us, players and coaches and everybody, has grown a little bit everyday,” Causey said of the maturation that has taken place within the Demopolis program throughout the course of the season.

That growth has helped the Tigers from their 1-4 start to a five-game winning streak and a date with Sylacauga in the first round of the AHSAA 5A state playoffs one week from tonight.

“We’ll start (today) focusing solely on Sylacauga,” Causey said. “We’re going to take it one day at a time. We’ve got to get better everyday.”

James led the effort Friday night with 167 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Boone added 63 yards on seven carries while Kerby chipped in 34 yards and a touchdown.

“When you’ve got three backs going in the backfield every play, it’s hard to give up on them,” LeCroy said. “You find another gear.” Boone also put together an efficient game through the air, going 5-for-9 for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

“We knew on this Thursday night we would be 6-4 headed into the playoffs with a good chance to win it all,” LeCroy said of the team’s attitude following its inauspicious start to the season.