Thursday, November 8, 2007
Indians down ’Dogs 36-31
By CLAUDE VINSON
The Byhalia Indians won their homecoming Friday night at the expense of the 4A New Albany Bulldogs.
The 3A Indians, state playoff bound, started the game with the first possession. Head coach Devin Rutherford was using a dual quarterback system, alternating with Terrion Smith and Marcus Thomas. They went three and out, but the Bulldogs did likewise.
The next possession saw Thomas starting the Indians’ fireworks early. He hit Marquise Green with a long one that went to the 15. They picked up another first down on a run by Smith. On the next play, with Smith under center, he lofted a soft pass which was picked off in the back of the end zone.
New Albany moved up the field on the ground and scored on a run by Jeremy Cannon. The extra-point try failed, and it was 6-0 Bulldogs.
The Indians went all the way to a first and goal at the 7 on runs by Green, Allen Stewart and Patrick Malone. However, they incurred an offside penalty and went out on downs after being unable to penetrate the Bulldogs’ “steel curtain.” The quarter ended with the score still 6-0.
The Indians caused and covered a fumble early in the second. On the first play came a long one to Green, in the end zone, but the score was nullified. Big runs from Stewart and Malone followed. A toss from Thomas to Chris Hill made it 6-6 with a quarterback sneak by Thomas to make it 8-6.
The Bulldogs quickly moved downfield and sent Cannon off tackle for another six. No PAT, but New Albany had reclaimed the lead 12-8.
The Indians came back and faced a fourth and one at the New Albany 37. There was an official timeout and after a lengthy discussion, the Indians were awarded a first down. Thomas threw another strike to Hill and another discussion ensued after the umpire ruled reception, but drew a protest from the New Albany bench. The Indians tried it again from the 10 and this time Hill scored. Another two pointer and Byhalia was up 16-12.
The Bulldogs were on the Byhalia 34 when their QB, Drew Dodge, launched a long bomb. Hill, reading the QB like a book, stepped in front of the would-be receiver at the 10 and ran untouched 90 yards for six. No PAT, and the Indians led 22-12.
Hill reprised his ball-stealing role a couple of plays later, and Warren Taylor made the grab from Thomas to give the Indians a bigger cushion at 28-12. That was the halftime score.
The score was still the same at the end of three. In the last quarter, the Bulldogs used Cannon and Michael Garner to move the ball into Indian territory. Cannon then darted in for six more for the ‘Dogs. It was 28-18.
The Indians kept the ball for seven and a half minutes before Thomas hit Patrick Malone for the touchdown on a fourth and five. Green converted for two to make it 36-18.
Then things got interesting. The Bulldogs converted two onside kicks to move to a score of 36-31 with seconds left. They tried a third and the head coach at New Albany incurred a penalty for trying to plead his case.
The Indians (7-3) took a knee to end the game and the regular season. They head to the first round of playoffs this Friday, November 9. They will host Humphreys County.
Coach Rutherford named Rodrick Hardaway as most valuable player of the game.
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