Defense, ground game power Demopolis over Vigor

11-13-2015 - Prichard, Ala. - Demopolis' Jay Craig crosses the goal line for a touchdown against Vigor.

11-13-2015 – Prichard, Ala. – Demopolis’ Jay Craig crosses the goal line for a touchdown against Vigor.

PRICHARD — Demopolis (10-2) is into the quarterfinal round for the first time since 2009 after downing Vigor 28-17 Friday night.

11-13-2015 - Prichard, Ala. - Demopolis' Jamarcus Ezell runs in the open field against Vigor.

11-13-2015 – Prichard, Ala. – Demopolis’ Jamarcus Ezell runs in the open field against Vigor.

Demopolis turned to its ground game and attempted to bully the Wolves between the tackles. The Tigers ran the ball 56 times out of its 58 offensive plays Friday and shortened the game against an athletic Vigor team.

“We knew we had to do that. We hoped we could run between the tackles and get our stuff off,” Demopolis coach Stacy Luker said. “They’re so dangerous, we had to keep the football and keep (Brandon Rodgers) behind over there on the sidelines because he is as good of a football player as we have seen this year.”

Rodgers punched the ball in from a yard out with 6:38 to play, cutting its deficit to 21-17. After a key defensive stop, Vigor got the ball back at its own 7 with just under three minutes to play. Demetrius Davis iced the win for the Tigers with a 7-yard interception return for a touchdown.

11-13-2015 - Prichard, Ala. - Demopolis' Jay Craig turns down the sideline against Vigor.

11-13-2015 – Prichard, Ala. – Demopolis’ Jay Craig turns down the sideline against Vigor.

“They got, I think, one good drive on us. The touchdown right before half was just an athlete making a play. They kept on fighting, kept playing hard,” Luker said. “The touchdown right there, that was huge by (Davis). We felt comfortable at that time because they had to go (93) yards for a touchdown but that pick-6 was even better.”

On the game’s pivotal play, the Tiger defense did not rush a single player.

“I don’t know if we told them to do that or not. I have no idea. We’re over there screaming ‘rush, rush, rush.’ At least I am. And then we get a Pick-6,” Luker said. “Maybe that’s what they wanted. I have no idea. I know that sounds bad, but it worked.”

11-13-2015 - Prichard, Ala. - Demopolis' Keishaun Scott runs through a tackle against Vigor.

11-13-2015 – Prichard, Ala. – Demopolis’ Keishaun Scott runs through a tackle against Vigor.

Vigor opened the scoring with a 36-yard field goal off the toe of Joshua Lacey before Demopolis drove 61 yards in 10 plays to take a lead it never relinquished on a 19-yard touchdown run by Jay Craig.

Craig made the most of his touches, amassing 168 yards on 28 carries, but it was quarterback Jamarcus Ezell who broke the game open with a 50-yard sprint on an option keeper to make it 14-3.

Vigor capitalized on a Demopolis turnover just before half as Rodgers eluded two sacks and heaved a prayer to Tyree Taylor for a 41-yard touchdown strike to cut it to 14-10.

Ezell scored again with 11:05 to go in the game, stretching it to 21-10.

Keishaun Scott added 60 yards on 12 carries for the Tigers. Rahmeel Cook and R.J. Cox each had six total tackles and a sack.

Demopollis (10-2) hosts St. Paul’s in the quarterfinal round next week. Vigor ends its season at 7-4.

11-13-2015 - Prichard, Ala. - Demopolis' Demetrius Davis (1) celebrates with Marcus Wright (26) after Davis' pick-6 to seal the Tigers' win over Vigor.

11-13-2015 – Prichard, Ala. – Demopolis’ Demetrius Davis (1) celebrates with Marcus Wright (26) after Davis’ pick-6 to seal the Tigers’ win over Vigor.

SCORE BY QUARTER 

DHS 7 7 0 14 28

VHS 3 7 0  7  17

YARDSTICK 

DEMOPOLIS

FIRST DOWNS – 17

RUSHES/YARDS – 56-317

PASSING – 1-2-9

TOTAL YARDS – 326

FUMBLES/LOST – 3/2

INTS – 0

PENALTIES – 5/35.5

PUNTS/AVG – 2/37

VIGOR 

FIRST DOWNS – 10

RUSHES/YARDS – 22/113

PASSING – 8-17-113

TOTAL YARDS – 226

FUMBLES/LOST – 3/1

PENALTIES – 6/40

PUNTS/AVG – 3/36.6

SCORING SUMMARY 

VHS – 1ST – 6:26 – JOSHUA LACEY 36 KICK – 0-3

DHS – 1ST – 1:24 – JAY CRAIG 19 RUN (R.J. COX KICK) – 7-3

DHS – 2ND – 6:14 – JAMARCUS EZELL 50 RUN (R.J. COX KICK) – 14-3

VHS – 2ND – 2:39 – TYREE TAYLOR 41 PASS FROM BRANDON RODGERS (DEANTHONY WALKER KICK) 14-10

DHS – 4TH – 11:05 – JAMARCUS EZELL 1 RUN (R.J. COX KICK) – 21-10

VHS – 4TH – 6:38 – BRANDON RODGERS 1 RUN (DEANTHONY WALKER KICK) – 21-17

DHS – 4TH – 2:38 – DEMETRIUS DAVIS 7 INTERCEPTION RETURN – 28-17

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS 

DHS – JAY CRAIG – 28 CARRIES FOR 168 AND 1 TOUCHDOWN

VHS – BRANDON RODGERS – 14 CARRIES FOR 119 YARDS AND A TOUCHDOWN