Rebels take down Golden Bears, move onPublished 11:59pm Friday, November 4, 2011
The Reeltown Rebels (8-3) struggled to find yards in the first half but eventually overwhelmed the Lexington Golden Bears in the second half with an opportunistic passing game and a dominating defense to notch a 34-7 first round playoff victory at Nix-Webster stadium.
In the first half, the Rebels managed only one first down and 10 rushing yards. The Golden Bears produced 95 yards on the ground and looked primed to physically dominate the Rebels for the entire game. However, Reeltown turned the tables in the second half, rushing for 163 yards and holding Lexington to 66 rushing yards.
The Rebels finished with 351 total yards compared to 193 yards for the Golden Bears.
“We came out in the first half and did not play well, especially on offense,” said Reeltown head coach Jackie O’Neal. “But, we made halftime adjustments on both sides of the ball and won the game.”
Rebel quarterback Cody Spivey played a pivotal roll in the win by making several throws at key moments in the game, including three touchdowns passes of 22, 51 and 62 yards. He finished the game with six completions and 178 passing yards.
Defensively, the Rebels had several players who contributed to the victory. Ladarius Denmark led the way with 11 tackles, two of them for a loss, and 2 sacks.
Kemond Gauntt had 8 tackles with two for a loss. Jestavia Norris chipped in 8 tackles with 2 for a loss.
“Defensively, our players started recognizing what Lexington was doing,” said O’Neal. “Plus, they started tackling instead of just hitting their man. That fact alone made a big difference in this game.”
The Golden Bears came out of the gate looking like a team ready to advance to the second round of the playoffs. Using their big offensive line and strong running attack, Lexington’s offense burned 7:19 off the clock on a 14 play, 58-yard touchdown drive that ended when quarterback Jake Cross plunged into the end zone on a quarterback keeper, giving the Golden Bears an early 7-0 lead.
The Rebels could not respond with an effective running game of their own and were outmatched for most of the first half. But, on their second possession, Spivey connected with Ladrae Reynolds on a 62-yard pass that tied the score 7-7 with 8:26 to go in the second quarter.
As halftime approached, it looked like the Rebels were going to take the lead when Gauntt intercepted a pass with 3:17 left on the clock that set up the Rebel offense of the Golden Bears’ 27-yard line. But, Reeltown wasted the opportunity when Reynolds fumbled on Lexington’s 9-yard line as time expired.
The Rebels came out in the second half with a different mind set and completely dominated the golden Bears, scoring 27 unanswered points.
After trading several punts, Reeltown took the lead for good when Reynolds fielded a punt on the Rebel 46 yard line and raced to the end zone for a 56-yard punt return with 1:55 to go in the 3rd quarter.
Now leading 14-7, The Rebels went on a scoring spree in the 4th quarter with three more touchdowns. Spivey found Marquise Smith on a 22-yard touchdown reception and also connected with Kendarious Frazier on a 51-yard touchdown pass, which pushed the score to 26-7. Gauntt made it 28-7 when he bulled his way into the end zone on a 2-point conversion attempt.
Rebel running back James Smith put the icing on the cake with an 18-yard touchdown run with only 33 seconds remaining in the contest.
“The game went pretty much according to our plan,” said O’Neal. “We knew they would be physical and we were gong to have to connect with our receivers and play well defensively to get the victory. I’m proud of our team for they way they responded.”
With the victory, Reeltown advances to the second round of the playoffs where they will face the Tanner Rattlers (11-0) on the road.