Tigers christen new stadium, scalp Wetumpka Indians

Published 12:15 am Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Demopolis defense remains perfect in its new home as the Tigers kept the Indians out of the end zone for the duration of the game for a 14-11 win.

“That was a great team effort,” DHS head coach Tom Causey told his team following the game.

The Indians scored the opening touchdown of the night when senior defensive back Zante Carliss picked off a Ben Pettus pass and returned it 45 yards to paydirt. Junior quarterback Jamal Golden ran in the two-point conversion to go up 8-0.

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Demopolis fired back quickly, going 51 yards on six plays during its ensuing possession. The drive culminated with a 31-yard touchdown strike from Pettus to senior Jeremy Wallace. The point after cut the lead to 11-7.

“He did his job,” Causey said of Wallace, who returned to action this season after sitting out 2008. “There’s no doubt Jeremy could be a special player. I’m extremely proud of the growth he’s made. He did a great job of fitting into our team tonight.”

WHS proceeded to return the ensuing kickoff to the DHS 37. Kicker Michael Davis saved an apparent touchdown on the tackle.

A pair of Indian infractions hindered the drive, resulting in a 36-yard field goal from Tyler Lynn that upped the lead to 11-7.

“We put (our defense) in a bad way on that kickoff return and interception,” Causey said. “It’s basically the same game we had last year.”

The game remained there until the fourth quarter when Demopolis broke through with an 11-play, 56-yard drive. On fourth down, Pettus found Anthony Hardy, who made a one-handed catch at the three yard line.

“I don’t know what I would do without the receivers we’ve got. I’m just throwing to where I see grass and letting the athletes work. They are ridiculously good at what they do and they don’t get enough recognition for it.”

On the next play, Davis punched in a three-yard scoring run. The point after from Spence Overstreet left the game at 14-11.

The drive came after the Wetumpka defense posted a goal line stand on the previous possession. Wetumpka appeared to retake the lead with 3:36 to go when Golden connected with Wesley Labarge for a 56-yard touchdown strike. The play was called back on a holding penalty.

Golden’s next heave found the wrong target as Hardy plucked his second interception of the night to hand the ball back to Demopolis. The Tigers were unable to get going, and punted after a three-and-out.

The Indians final shot at spoiling Tiger Stadium’s grand opening was spoiled when the team muffed a punt with just over a minute to go. Freshman Saul Palmer dove onto the ball, sending the Tigers into victory formation.

“It feels great,” Wallace said of his return to the field. “If we all keep our relationship, we’ll be a tough team for anybody to beat.”

“It sets the tone for the season,” Hardy said of the win.

The game also marked Pettus’ debut as a starting quarterback. He went 11-for-20 on the night for 161 yards.

“I’m not going to lie. I was a little nervous. If you don’t get nervous, it ain’t fun,” Pettus said.

“Coach Causey and them were ready to play,” Wetumpka coach Chad Anderson said. “They’ve got a great ball team and I see them going far in 5A.”