Late-game magic, defense help Tigers avoid upsetPublished 5:31pm Monday, November 11, 2013
DADEVILLE – The Dadeville Tigers overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Thomasville Tigers 7-6 in a defensive struggle that opened the Class 4A playoffs Friday at Tiger Stadium.
With the season on the line, Dadeville (10-1) trailed 6-0 facing third-and-19 from their its own 3-yard-line.
Dadeville senior quarterback C.J. Tolbert scrambled in the back of the end zone before rolling right to find a wide-open Jay Foster for 28 yards, with a facemask penalty adding 15 more yards to play to move the ball to the Dadeville 46-yard line.
The play essentially helped keep Dadeville’s season alive, and head coach Richard White said it’s something they practice everyday.
“We run a scramble drill every day in practice, but our kids hadn’t been doing a good job of it during the ball game. Finally, they ran back to get to the quarterback and they were able to get open,” White said. “C.J. found a guy, and that play right there kept that drive alive.”
Three runs by Tolbert, another facemask penalty on Thomasville and a pair of runs by Darius Miller helped push Dadeville to the Thomasville 16-yard line.
On third-and-5 from the Thomasville 16-yard line, Tolbert ran right on what seemed like another designed quarterback run only to pull up and pass it to a wide-open Mike Miller in the end zone for the game-tying touchdown with less than eight minutes left to play.
Zach Sims tacked on the extra point to give Dadeville its first lead of the game at 7-6.
Dadeville forced a three-and-out on the next Thomasville possession, but Thomasville’s defense did the same to Dadeville, forcing a punt with 2:50 left to play.
Thomasville got the ball back on their own 12-yard line, and Dadeville got a three stops to make it fourth-and-ten, but Thomasville quarterback Chadwick Bryant hit Ian Rossby for 14 yards to keep the drive alive.
Bryant completed six passes for 55 yards to Rossby alone on the drive to help Thomasville get down to the Dadeville 28-yard line with five seconds left to play.
Thomasville brought out kicker Michael White for a 43-yard field goal attempt, but it was short and wide as time expired. It was the third missed kick on the night for White – including an extra point – and locked up the victory for Dadeville.
DHS coach Richard White said the defense came up huge against Thomasville’s tough, wing-T offense.
“I’m just proud of my kids. They played their butts off all night long. Defensively, even though we gave up six points, those kids on defense played their hearts out tonight,” White said. “That wing-T is tough to stop – you can ask any coach in high school. The wing-T offense is one of the toughest to stop because there’s so much misdirection.”
Both teams went into the third quarter without scoring a single point.
A 44-yard run by Thomasville’s Trevor Wilson set Thomasville up at the Dadeville 1-yard line before Bryant snuck it in to give Thomasville the lead.
Thomasville made the extra point, but had to re-kick due to a Dadeville encroachment penalty. But the retry resulted in the missed extra point by Michael White that ended up putting Thomasville ahead 6-0 with 11:58 left in the fourth quarter.
Dadeville’s offense mustered only 119 total yards, led by Darius Miller with 27 yards on eight carries and Tolbert with 22 yards on 12 carries.
Tolbert was 10 for 16 passing on the night with 66 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, Dadeville was led by Tamarcus Russell, who had 11 tackles.
Anfernee Jennings added seven tackles for Dadeville, while D.J. Morgan had six tackles.
Michael Miller had a fumble recovery on defense for Dadeville and Daquan Sheeley blocked a punt on the night.
Dadeville advances to the second round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 4A playoffs and will host Calera Friday at 7 p.m.