Demopolis holds off Thomasville for big win

THOMASVILLE — Mason Rogers went home Friday night knowing what the biggest moment of his high school career is so far. It came with just over a minute to go Friday night when he intercepted a pass to seal a 27-26 Demopolis win over Thomasville.

9-28-2012 — Thomasville, Ala. — Demopolis WR Brock Montgomery secures a pass under heavy cover during the second quarter of the Tigers’ 27-26 victory over Thomasville. (Michael Clements/The West Alabama Watchman)

“It’s the best feeling in the freaking world,” an elated Rogers, a senior safety in his first year playing varsity football, said.

“That’s one of many plays made tonight. It’s big at the time obviously because he gets the ball back to us and we can run it out,” Demopolis coach Tom Causey said of the Rogers interception.

The play abbreviated what had been a furious comeback by Thomasville. Demopolis ran out a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and held on as the home Tigers hung 20 points in the second half.

Thomasville got a 12-yard touchdown catch from Jacob Brasell to cut its deficit to 27-26 with 3:37 to go in the contest. Demopolis’ Demetrius Kemp then recovered a fumbled snap to snuff a two-point conversion attempt that left it at 27-26.

“It was a no-brainer. We wanted to win the football game right then,” Thomasville coach Jack Hankins said of the decision to go for two. “I’d do it again 100 times.”

Demopolis’ Brock Montgomery then recovered the onside kick and drove the ball to the Thomasville 12 before the home Tigers forced a turnover on downs with 1:28 to play, giving themselves one final shot that Rogers promptly took away.

The play help hold up a career performance from Tucker Jones, who threw for 226 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 112 yards and another score in the win.

9-28-2012 — Thomasville, Ala. — Demopolis QB Tucker Jones releases a pass during the first quarter of the Tigers’ 27-26 victory over Thomasville. (Michael Clements/The West Alabama Watchman)

“Tucker Jones, I thought played out of his mind,” Causey said. “Not just Tucker Jones. I thought every kid we had tonight was committed each and every play and played it one play at a time.”

“I was thinking about it all day. I wanted to go out and perform like I’m supposed to and I was going to make sure I didn’t get hurt tonight,” Jones, who sustained a season-ending injury against Thomasville a season ago, said.

Demopolis started the scoring with 7:46 left in the opening quarter when quarterback Tucker Jones scored on a three-yard run.

Jones then found Rodney Harper for a nine-yard touchdown strike and added the two-point run himself to put it at 14-0. Hollis Bright came up with a fumble on a bad snap and set up a 56-yard scoring pass from Jones to Cortez Lewis to up the advantage to 21-0.

Thomasville appeared destined to go down by four scores when Raphael Garner scooped a fumble at his own 1 and returned it 79 yards to the Demopolis 20. Three plays later, Delvonte White hauled in a Tevin Watters pass for a score. Demopolis’ Tyrelle Barnett blocked the extra point to leave it at 21-6.

Demopolis opened the third quarter with a 14-play, 84-yard drive that milked 6:27 off the game clock and culminated with a two-yard scoring pass from Jones to Barnett.

White responded with a 79-yard kickoff return to the Demopolis 13 to set up a scoring sequence he finished himself with a seven-yard run to cut it to 27-13.

Thomasville marched 80 yards on seven plays on its ensuing possession to set White up for his third score of the game on a one-yard run, cutting it to 27-20 with 11:18 to play.

The win marked the first time Demopolis has beaten Thomasville since 2008 when Jones and his fellow seniors were still in middle school.

9-28-2012 — Thomasville, Ala. — Demopolis A-back Cortez Lewis maneuvers to gain a few more yards during the Tigers’ 27-26 victory over Thomasville. (Michael Clements/The West Alabama Watchman)

“I’m not going to lie, I might’ve had a tear to shed tonight if we would’ve lost,” Jones said. “This was probably one of the biggest games of the year. This was huge.”

Jones led the way for the Tigers with 226 passing yards and three touchdowns while adding 112 yards on the ground. Demopolis’ Roderick Davis led all rushers with 199 yards on 27 carries. Montgomery led the receiving corps with three catches for 95 yards.

Demopolis finished the night with 559 yards of total offense as compared to 218 for Thomasville, which had only 43 yards at the half.

Demopolis (5-0) travels to Greenville next week while Thomasville (3-2) hosts Escambia County.

 Game notes

* Demopolis defensive coordinator Matt Geohagan missed the game following the birth of his first child early Friday morning. Demopolis defensive backs coach Ben Ramer called the defensive signals in to linebackers coach Drew Luker during the contest.

* The game marked the first time this season a Demopolis player other than Cortez Lewis scored the Tigers’ opening touchdown. Lewis did score on a 56-yard catch, marking his fifth  straight game with a touchdown.

* Tucker Jones threw for three touchdowns and ran for another for the fourth time in five games this season. He has 13 touchdown passes and five touchdown runs thus far in 2012.

* The teams combined for 25 penalties for 200 yards. The count means that through half the regular season, Demopolis and its opponents have combined for  73 total penalties for 842 yards.

*There were two blocked kicks in the game with Tyrelle Barnett blocking an extra point for Demopolis and Thomasville’s Sammuel Jackson blocking a a field goal.

* Demopolis had last defeated Thomasville in 2008.

* Friday was the 38th meeting between the teams with Demopolis holding a 25-13 advantage in the rivalry, which saw its first inaugural game in 1922.