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Second chance FG ends Demopolis’ playoff run

MONTGOMERY — After celebrating an apparent victory Friday night in Cramton Bowl, the Tigers playoff run came to an abrupt end when Carver connected on a 17-yard field goal to take the game 38-36.

The Wolverines’ season had apparently ended when they missed the previous attempt from 34 yards away. Jubilant Demopolis players and coaches were rushed off the field soon thereafter as the officials marched off a 15-yard penalty against the Tigers, placing the ball at the two and setting up the game-winning field goal.

“You played your butt off,” DHS head coach Tom Causey told an emotional Tiger team following the win. “You did exactly what we asked you to do. It’s going to make you stronger somewhere down the road.”

The official call was initially unclear to much of the Demopolis sideline. Following the game, the head referee refused to reveal the call that had been made when asked.

It was later reported the Tigers had been flagged for running through the Carver center on the original field goal attempt.

“I hate it for our seniors,” Causey said following the game.

After an 80-yard touchdown strike to Brian Taylor in the first half, the Tigers trailed 20-7 at intermission.

Demopolis coughed the ball up three times in the first two quarters, including an interception that the Wolverines returned 50 yards for a touchdown.

The Tigers gradually seized the momentum in the second half before the defense swung it heavily in the Tigers’ favor. Taylor blitzed into the Carver backfield and forced a fumble that was recovered by Tre Jones at the CHS seven.

Four plays later, sophomore DaMarcus James punched the ball in from two yards out to cut the lead to 20-14.

Carver responded quickly, scoring on a four-play, 63-yard drive that saw Andrew Pitts score from 31 yards out. The extra point left Demopolis down 27-14.

Understanding the urgency, Demopolis fired back with a nine-play, 71-yard drive of its own. The Tigers cut the deficit back to six when Rick Boone found Anthony Hardy on an 11-yard touchdown pass.

The Tiger defense then forced a three-and-out, handing the ball back to its offensive counterparts at the 50.

Demopolis then took its first lead of the night on a seven-play drive that ended in a with another two-yard scoring run by James. Tyler Brooker’s fourth successful extra-point attempt of the night handed Demopolis its first lead of the evening.

The Wolverines appeared rattled when the center snapped the ball over quarterback Reginald Aaron’s head on the first play of the ensuing drive. Aaron fell on the ball at his 15, leaving Carver 30 yards from the sticks.

On the next play, controversy made its first cameo appearance when Aaron scrambled away from the Demopolis rush to find a receiver downfield, who pitched the ball to Pitts.

The Carver back then took the ball the distance to complete the 85-yard touchdown play.

However, a flag had been thrown at the line of scrimmage, prompting a lengthy debate that drew the ire of both sidelines. Ultimately, the officiating crew waived the flag off, returning the lead to Carver.

According to Causey, the call in question was in regards to an illegal formation by Carver that, in the official’s judgment, had been rectified prior to the snap. The Wolverines’ two-point conversion attempt handed them the 35-28 lead.

Demopolis took back over possession at its own 30 with 3:30 remaining on the game clock. Boone went to work, completing four passes for a total of 65 yards on the drive. The Tigers turned to James again to punch the ball in from just outside the goal line.

“Never any doubt we were going for two,” Causey said of the decision he faced. “You don’t come this far to the third round with a group that’s worked this hard to play for a tie.”

Causey then sent his offense back onto the field. Boone’s final pass of his high school career found its way into the arms of sophomore Michael Davis for the two-point conversion that left Demopolis with a 36-35 lead and 1:06 remaining on the game clock.

“They’ve never quit,” Causey said of his team. “They’ve always battled back.”

Carver then utilized seven plays to take the ball from its own 28 to within field goal range. What initially was set to be a 29-yard attempt was moved back five yards on an illegal substitution penalty before the game ended bitterly for the Tigers.

Boone went 9-for-16 through the air in the game for 179 yards and two touchdowns. Hardy led the way with 86 receiving yards and one touchdown. He also recorded a touchdown-saving interception in the contest.

James carried the ball 31 times for 118 yards and three touchdowns. Jacob Kerby complemented James with 46 yards on 11 carries. Boone’s 39 yards on 13 carries brought his total offense to 218 yards.

The loss snaps a seven-game winning streak and ends the Tigers’ season at 8-5 following a 1-4 start.