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Demopolis struggles in loss to Thomaville

Demopolis scuffled for most of the night before mounting a second half rally that fell short in a 24-13 loss to Thomasville Thursday.

“We had too many penalties early, putting us in long down and distance situations,” Demopolis head coach Tom Causey said. “I think we panicked a little bit and got away from what we wanted to do, which was run the football right at them.”

The visiting Tigers played their part in knocking Demopolis off its game plan, missing few assignments and even less tackles. Demopolis running back Damarcus James was met at the point of attack most of the night. The electrifying junior was scarcely able to find running room, often dragging tacklers out of the backfield just to get beyond the line of scrimmage. James finished his night with 91 yards on 29 carries.

“We’ve rode him all year long,” Causey said of James. “He’s been the one consistent guy all year long.”

Thomasville found equivalent success on the offensive side of the ball in the game’s early going. Jack Hankins’ group accounted for the first 24 points of the game.

With 3:14 to play in the first quarter Thomasville struck when Tevin Watters found Mitchell Cowan uncovered for a 14-yard touchdown pass.

Demopolis hopped then into a formation that allowed James to take direct snaps on the next series. It had moderate success — accounting for 16 yards on three plays — before an errant snap sailed 16 yards backfield and killed the momentum of the drive.

Thomasville’s next drive only moved 30 yards. But kicker Harrison Lewis made up for the rest when he connected on a 41-yard field goal to stretch the lead to 10-0 just a minute into the second quarter.

Thomasville then forced a three-and-out and countered with a seven-play, 54-yard drive than ended in a two-yard touchdown run by Tyler Hayes. The extra-point stretched the THS lead to 17-0 with 6:14 until halftime.

Four plays later, Charles Taylor scooped up a fumble and ran it 45 yards for an apparent touchdown before the return was negated by a blocking infraction. The flag put the visiting Tigers at their own 49.

Demopolis stood tall on defense and looked ready to pitch its first three-and-out of the game before a pass interference call on third down gave Thomasville new life.

With its back against the wall, Demopolis gained a momentary reprieve when Kiandre Adams used his body to shield off receiver Tevin Pope in the end zone and come down with an interception.

One play and one penalty later, Demopolis handed the ball right back when Chris Davis plucked a DHS pass at the home team’s 42.

Thomasville proceeded to march methodically toward the end zone again until Demopolis middle linebacker met the THS runner at the 10 and forcibly dislodged the ball on the way to the ground. The Davis strip and recovery sent DHS to the half with a 17-0 deficit.

In the second half, the Demopolis defense showed more intensity than it had in the first two quarters.

“We played like we should have played the whole night,” Causey said of his team’s second half performance.

To start the third quarter, the teams traded punts before Michael Thornton took the ball on a trap and dashed 75 yards for a 24-0 Thomasville lead.

Demopolis finally got on the board on the final play of the third quarter when Jeremy Wallace bolted 19 yards on a triple-option play, capping an eight-lay, 44-yard drive. The two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the score at 24-6.

Demopolis found the end zone again with 4:26 to go in the game when Ben Pettus found Larry Cobb for an 89-yard catch-and-run. Spence Overstreet added the extra-point to round out the Demopolis scoring.

“They are a dang good football team and we knew that going into the game. They didn’t catch us by surprise tonight,” Causey said of Thomasville. “We’ve got to keep working.”

Demopolis will travel to Columbiana next Friday where it will challenge Shelby County in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.