Demopolis ground game grounds Eagles 33-19

Ryan Schroeder catches a pass from Logan McVay for the Tigers' first score of the night.

Ryan Schroeder catches a pass from Logan McVay for the Tigers’ first score of the night.

CALERA – Demopolis (1-1, 1-0) turned to its ground game Friday night to open Region 4 play with a pivotal 33-19 win over Calera Friday night.

With the momentum clearly in Calera’s favor following a fourth quarter touchdown drive, sophomore quarterback Logan McVay led his team on a 12-play, 68-yard drive that iced the win despite penalties incurred by the Tigers during the march.

McVay carried the ball 10 times on the game’s final possession, tallying 78 yards and the game’s final touchdown with 37.9 seconds remaining in the contest.

“Our defense did great tonight keeping them out of the end zone and just had to try and put points on the board,” McVay said of the final drive of the game.

“That’s one that the kids grow up on right there,” Demopolis coach Tom Causey said of his team’s last drive. “Hopefully we’ll grow on that and go forward.”

Calera cut the Demopolis lead from 27-6 to 27-19 with a pair of drives that culminated with 6:23 left in the fourth quarter.

Jayjerrin Craig comes down in the end zone for a touchdown against Calera.

Jayjerrin Craig comes down in the end zone for a touchdown against Calera.

The Eagles all but abandoned the rushing attack in the second half and allowed Ty Evans to air it out. Evans connected with Zachary Gaines for an 18-yard touchdown pass with 34.6 seconds left in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 27-12.

After the Calera defense came up with a stop on a John Killingsworth fumble recovery, Evans led his team on a three-play, 45-yard drive that ended with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Harrell. The Austin Ford extra point cut the deficit to 27-19 before McVay and the Tigers executed the final drive.

“I’m extremely proud of our kids. They played so hard. I think they had something to prove tonight,” Causey said. “As far as execution goes, I think it was simplifying it, allowing htem to be good at what they do. The key to it was how hard they played.”

Calera opened the scoring with 5:39 left in the first quarter when Evans found the end zone on a 7-yard touchdown run to put the Eagles up 6-0.

Rashad Lynch breaks free from would be Calera tacklers on his way for a Tiger touchdown.

Rashad Lynch breaks free from would be Calera tacklers on his way for a Tiger touchdown.

Demopolis responded on the ensuing possession, covering 65 yards on 10 plays and capping it with an 11-yard touchdown pass from McVay to Ryan Schroeder.

After the defense pitched a three-and-out, McVay led his team on an eight-play, 69-yard drive that was highlighted by a 26-yard pass to Schroeder and a 35-yard run by the sophomore signal-caller. Jayjerrin Craig punctuated the drive with a 2-yard plunge into the end zone to give the Tigers their first lead of the night.

Late in the second quarter, Tripp Perry unleashed a 44-yard punt that saw Travares Hall and Wil Stephens separate the Calera returner from the ball. Hall dove on the fumble at the Eagle 20, setting up a 15-yard Rashad Lynch touchdown run with 2:57 left in the opening half.

With Demopolis leading 20-6 in the third quarter, Lynch rolled over a pair of Calera players and alertly hopped back to his feet after not hearing a whistle, bolting to the end zone to cap a 68-yard touchdown run.

Jayjerrin Craig makes a cut to elude a Calera defender in the Tigers' win over the Eagles.

Jayjerrin Craig makes a cut to elude a Calera defender in the Tigers’ win over the Eagles.

McVay led all rushers with 136 yards on 27 carries. Lynch toted the ball nine times for 117 yards. The Tigers tallied 332 yards rushing on 52 carries.

The Demopolis defense limited Calera to 125 yards rushing and a total of 294 yards.

“That was a good football team across from us and our little guys held up,” Causey said.

Following the win, Causey told his athletes the win was all about how they played together.

“It was a team thing,” Causey said. “You did dang good. I saw guys leaning on one another. We had guys going down tonight and guys coming in to replace them.”

Demopolis is set to host Jemison next week.