The final home game at Dadeville this season was a slugfest from start to finish.
The Tigers battled Montgomery Academy for 48 minutes in a defensive masterpiece in Class 3A Region 3 action.
MA did just enough offensively, taking advantage of six Dadeville turnovers in an 8-2 victory Friday.
There will certainly be sore bodies Saturday.
“Our kids played our hearts out on defense,” Dadeville coach Richard White said. “We turned the ball over four times in the first quarter, and we couldn’t do a good job of blocking them up front. You got your money’s worth if you like defense.”
Dadeville’s rushing attack was no match for MA’s front. The Tigers (1-6, 0-4) finished with 44 yards on the ground.
Tiger running backs Javuntae Holley and Christian Nelson combined for just 31 rushing yards on 16 attempts.
After a fourth-quarter safety, the Tigers had one last chance for a dramatic comeback.
But on fourth down from the Eagles 26, Tigers quarterback Lane Smith threw his second interception of the game to Eagles defensive back Saxon Main.
Smith completed seven of 15 passes for 98 yards, was sacked twice and fumbled. Dadeville’s defense was led by Jamauri Chislom, who had seven tackles and a sack.
The only touchdown for the Eagles (4-3, 3-1) came off the second muffed punt by the Tigers in the opening quarter.
MA running back Jamal Cooper took the ensuing handoff 19 yards for the score then the Eagles converted a two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead which they held until the fourth quarter.
Cooper finished with 98 yards on 14 carries and caught two passes for 7 yards. Defensive end Jashawn Cooper came up with two fumble recoveries for the Eagles.
Eagles quarterback Robert Kohn sealed the victory with a 62-yard run on second down following Dadeville’s final turnover.
“This was the rowdiest atmosphere where we’ve won this year,” Eagle coach Gary Nelson said. “We haven’t responded when teams learn how to defend us, but we’re getting better at finding different ways to move the ball.”
For Dadeville, it’s a sixth straight loss and a major blow to any thoughts of a playoff berth.
“We’ll go back to the drawing board (next week) and see what’s missing,” White said. “This game and that last drive are what we can build on. I’m very proud of how we continue to fight.”