Demopolis scores 48 straight to drop Helena

Jamarcus Ezell fires a pass beyond the outstretched hands of a Helena defender.

Jamarcus Ezell fires a pass beyond the outstretched hands of a Helena defender.

HELENA — Demopolis (3-1, 3-0) weathered the early emotional storm Friday night, overcoming a 17-0 deficit to hand Helena a 48-31 defeat for its first loss in school history.

“We expected it to be a lot of emotions the first game in school history here,” Demopolis coach Tom Causey said, noting the expectations he had entering the first home game in Helena history.

The Tigers broke onto the scoreboard for the first time with 5:18 to play in the second quarter, opening a string of 48 consecutive points to change the tenor of the game.

Rashad Lynch crosses the goal line against the Helena Huskies.

Rashad Lynch crosses the goal line against the Helena Huskies.

“We were blessed enough to come out in the third quarter and get us some turnovers and a couple of scores,” Causey said.

The true turning point in the contest came with 11.5 seconds remaining in the second quarter. The Tigers threw an interception on what appeared to be destined for the final drive of the quarter. Drew Jones responded in kind for the Tigers with a pick that set his team up at its own 45 just a few plays later.

Two snaps after that, Helena forced and recovered a fumble and seemed poise to take the game to the locker room up 17-14.

After an incomplete pass, Calera called a running play that saw Rahmeel Cook force a fumble and Devontae May recover the loose ball with 11.5 seconds left, giving Demopolis possession at the Helena 39.

“We had three takeaways in the first half and two right there in the final two minutes,” Causey said of the chaotic sequence.

The gift-giving session set up a 39-yard heave from Jamarcus Ezell to Ryan Schroeder, who hauled the pass in at the halftime horn despite tight coverage from two defenders to put Demopolis up 21-17.

“Ryan Schroeder made a heck of a catch right there at the end,” Causey said. “He had two guys flashing in front of him and the ball drops in and he makes the catch. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if he caught it.”

Davontae May advances a fumble against Helena.

Davontae May advances a fumble against Helena.

“I saw him playing man. They had two safeties over the top,” Ezell said of what opened up in front of him on the final play of the half. “All summer I’ve been telling Ryan I have confidence in him. I knew when I threw it, Ryan was going to catch that ball.”

Helena opened the scoring with a 34-yard field goal from Jack Reid with 6:45 to play in the first quarter. After a short punt by Demopolis, the Huskies got a 13-yard touchdown run from Riley Davis to go up 10-0.

With 10:48 to go in the second quarter, Devan Walker scored from six yards out to stretch the Huskies’ lead to 17-0.

“We played on our end of the field and felt like we were in a fog,” Causey said of the game’s opening minutes.

On the next snap, Demopolis inserted itself into the game as Rashad Lynch rumbled 60 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 17-7.

Five minutes later, Lynch found the end zone again on a 15-yard run to leave the Tigers down 17-14.

The Tigers poured it on in the third quarter, tallying 27 points in the frame. Demopolis opened the half with a four-play, 65-yard drive that culminated with a 16-yard scoring run by Drew Jones for the 28-17 lead. One snap later, R.J. Cox forced and recovered a fumble to set up the Demopolis offense 25 yards away from the Helena end zone. Jayjerrin Craig took it from there with a 25-yard scoring run to stretch the advantage to 34-17.

Ryan Schroeder celebrates a touchdown catch against Helena.

Ryan Schroeder celebrates a touchdown catch against Helena.

A Russ Logan interception three plays later put Demopolis 37 yards away from another score. Lynch accounted for the bulk of that distance with a 28-yard touchdown run that put the Tigers up 41-17 with 7:09 left in the third.

The final touchdown for Demopolis came on a 15-yard Jones run that punctuated a nine-play, 62-yard drive and left the Tigers with a 48-17 advantage.

“Youth and inexperience really showed up,” Helena coach Watt Parker said of his team’s first loss. “(Demopolis is) better than us at the end of the day. We’ve just got to get them in the weight room and to the point that they can physically match up with teams like Demopolis.”

Helena added two fourth quarter scores with a nine-yard Terrel Blevins run and a 15-yard pass from Davis to Phildon Dublin.

Demopolis pulls out the win despite fumbling the ball six times in the first half and losing two of them.

Lynch finished with 131 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries. Craig had 69 yards and a score on 10 carries. Jones rushed six times for 39 yards and two scores.

Tim Bonner paced the defense with 12 tackles and three pass deflections. A.J. Collier and May each had nine tackles on the night.

Demopolis is set to travel to Jackson Thursday night for a non-region clash.

Jayjerrin Craig rumbles across the goal line for a touchdown against the Helena Huskies.

Jayjerrin Craig rumbles across the goal line for a touchdown against the Helena Huskies.