Demopolis wallops Brookwood
By Jeremy D. Smith
BROOKWOOD — Demopolis (6-2, 6-0) rode a 31-point second half effort to a 44-13 win over the Brookwood Panthers and its first Class 5A region championship since 1984 Friday night. The region crown also becomes the first in the coaching career of Tom Causey, who had successful stops at Dallas County and Andalusia before his 2007 arrival in Demopolis.
“To me a region championship means going undefeated in the region,” Causey, whose team will host region foe Selma for Homecoming next week, said following the game.
“To actually win (a region championship) feels pretty good,” senior quarterback Ben Pettus, who helped guide the Tigers from the No. 3 seed in the region to the Class 5A state title a season ago, said.
Pettus played a big role in the Tigers second half effort, hitting a pivotal 53-yard throw to Darius Stewart to convert a third and long and get the Tigers out of dire straits and deep into Brookwood territory. Three plays later, James Wilson ran the ball in from 11 yards out to put Demopolis up 29-13 with 2:52 to go in the third quarter.
Demopolis continued to hammer nails into the Panther coffin when it handed the ball to DaMarcus James on four straight carries to cover 62 yards and stretch the lead to 37-13. James finished the night with 177 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. He also converted on all three of his two-point conversion run attempts.
Demopolis’ final touchdown came when Pettus punched it in from four yards out after James scampered 62 yards on one carry to set up the score. The end zone visit was the second of the game’s latter half for Pettus, who scored on an 11-yard touchdown run to cap Demopolis’ opening possession of the third quarter.
The 31-point second half outburst, which also featured a Spence Overstreet extra-point, came after first half that saw the Tigers struggle with the Brookwood defensive front.
“They played their tail off tonight. Brookwood came out with a great game plan,” Causey said of the Panthers. “Offensively we just weren’t playing very good up front.”
The Tigers opened the scoring on the first drive of the game when they parlayed a 32-yard kickoff return by Wilson into a seven-play, 57-yard drive that ended with a one-yard scoring run by James. Overstreet’s extra point kick left Demopolis up 7-0.
Brookwood answered the bell with a 74-yard march of its own. David France blocked the extra point — his third blocked kick of the year — to keep Demopolis in the driver’s seat at 7-6.
The Tigers responded quickly when Pettus hit Wilson for a 48-yard score on the fourth play of the ensuing possession to put Demopolis’ advantage to 13-6.
Brookwod knotted the score on the second play of the second quarter.
Wilson accounted for 210 all-purpose yards in the game, including 79 yards and a score on three catches and 99 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Pettus finished 5-for-10 through the air for 166 yards and a touchdown in addition to his two rushing scores. James’ rushing output pushed his total to 1,322 yards on the season.