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Hillcrest rolls Demopolis in regular season finale

TUSCALOOSA — Demopolis (6-4) got a pair of touchdowns out of James Wilson but could muster little else en route to a 52-13 loss to Hillcrest (10-0) Thursday night.

The Tigers watched Hillcrest take the ball 72 yards on five plays on the first drive of the game, getting the opening score when quarterback Luke Wingo ran the ball in from 12 yards out with 10:41 to go in the first frame.

Demopolis responded in kind when Tyler Oates took the ball 44 yards on an option play then gave it to Wilson two snaps later for a 29-yard scoring run. Mitch McPherson’s point after tied the game at 7 with 9:32 to play in the first.

Hillcrest then reeled off a 13-play, 80-yard drive that ended when Wingo found Brooks Hutton for a five-yard touchdown pass.

Demopolis proceeded to drive the ball all the way to the HHS 37 on seven plays before Stephen Stewart dropped a punt in at the Hillcrest 2 to give his defense an advantage.

The Patriots needed just one play to add to the lead as Jertavious Sanders took the first down handoff and sprinted 98 yards to put his team up 21-7.

After forcing a three-and-out of the Tigers, Hillcrest added to the lead again when it went 71 yards on 11 plays, capping the scoring drive on a one-yard plunge by Jaquavious Bryant. The touchdown left HHS up 28-7 with 7:55 remaining until the half.

Demopolis appeared ready to get itself back in the game when Wilson broke for a 24-yard run that ended with two personal foul penalties against the Patriots. The play and the infractions moved Demopolis to the Patriot 26. The Tigers responded with an illegal shift and a fumble, setting Hillcrest up for a six-play, 61-yard march.

Wingo went to the air to find Brandon Moss on a 14-yard scoring strike to punctuate the possession, leaving Hillcrest up 35-7 at the half.

The second half started with similar difficulties for Demopolis as James Scott intercepted a pass and returned it 53 yards for a score to stretch the Hillcrest lead to 42-7.

Just over two minutes later, Melvin Gueler added a 32-yard field goal to move the advantage to 45-7.

Demopolis got its final score with 3:01 remaining in the third as Wilson ran the ball in from two yards out to cap a 10-play, 60-yard drive that was set up by a Kessy Bell fumble recovery.

Hillcrest capped the scoring early in the fourth quarter when backup quarterback Riley Nix crossed the goal line on a two-yard run.

Wilson carried the ball 20 times for 126 yards and both Demopolis touchdowns. Robert McVay led the defense with seven tackles while Justin Durant recorded six stops and deflected a pass.

“We came out flat as a pancake defensively in the first half and flipped it in the second half and came out flat on offense,” Demopolis head coach Tom Causey said following the game. “We’ve got to pull together and go in the same direction.”

The Tigers will host Charles Henderson next Friday night in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.