Demopolis stymies Vigor to move to semifinals

11-24-17 — Prichard, Ala. — Demopolis’ C.J. Williams picks off a pass on Vigor’s first play from scrimmage. Williams would return the interception for a touchdown for the first points of the game of the Tigers’ win over the Wolves.

PRICHARD, Ala. – Sophomore C.J. Williams gave his team the lead before the offense ever took the field Friday night and Demopolis never squandered it. The Tigers used a suffocating defense and an effective passing game to beat Vigor 35-14 in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A playoffs Friday night.

“It’s a total team effort. It has been that way all year,” Demopolis coach Brian Seymore said. “It’s a credit to our kids and our coaches. They really do a tremendous job.”

Williams picked off a ball on a double-reverse pass on the first play from scrimmage and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown and a quick 7-0 Demopolis lead.

“We knew they’d come out early with some kind of gadget play. We had them ready,” Seymore said. “He set the tone. That was big for us to start the game.”

11-24-17 — Prichard, Ala. — Demopolis’ Antonio Besteder outruns a Vigor defender to the edge during the Tigers’ win over the Wolves.

Vigor fought right back in it when Artel Howell returned the ensuing kickoff 67 yards for a touchdown to cut it to 7-6.

Vigor appeared poised to take the lead in the second quarter when it drove the ball to the Demopolis 25. A blitzing Tavion Brown offered the solution to that problem two plays later when he dragged the Wolves’ QB down for a 13-yard sack and nullified the threat.

The Tigers proceeded to march the ensuing possession 86 yards on 11 plays, culminating the march with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Patterson to Tyler Jones for the 14-6 lead.

Vigor fought back in it again with the aid of a fake punt and a 35-yard strike over the top to Howell, setting up a 1st and Goal at the Demopolis 5. The Tigers dug in, allowing just one yard over the next four snaps to hold the lead going into half.

Antonio Besteder helped his team add to the margin with 5:07 left in the third quarter when he punched it in from a yard out. Besteder later added the game’s final touchdown on a 16-yard sprint.

The backbreaking score came with 2:10 to play in the third when Patterson dropped a dime to Tyquan Alston, who ran it the rest of the way for a 69-yard touchdown.

“Consistency. I know where he is going to be at all times. I just throw it to that spot and I know he’s going to catch it,” Patterson said of his developing connection with Alston, which included a 90-yard touchdown pass in last week’s win over Central-Clay County.

“I was looking back again, trying to make sure I didn’t get caught,” Alston joked.

11-24-17 — Prichard, Ala. — Demopolis’ Tavian Brown sacks Vigor’s quarterback during the Tigers’ win over the Wolves.

Demopolis finished with 325 yards of offense, highlighted by Patterson throwing for 208 yards on 15 of 21 passing. Besteder ran for 115 yards on 27 carries. Alston paced the receivers with 92 yards on two catches. DeDe Davis added 74 yards on seven receptions. Brown had two sacks in the contest. Williams and Roderick Gaines each had an interception.

Demopolis allowed only 144 yards of total offense and just six first downs. The Tigers move to 11-2 with the win and ready to host St. Paul’s next Friday night in the state semifinals.

“We know what kind of caliber team St. Paul’s is. Coach (Steve) Mask does a tremendous job there,” Seymore said.

Demopolis moves to the semifinal round for the first time since 2009.

“It’s indescribable,” Patterson said. “We’ve been working hard all summer for this and the hard work is finally paying off.”

11-24-17 — Prichard, Ala. — Demopolis’ Russ Logan hangs on for a tackle, despite the efforts of a Vigor ball carrier, during the Tigers’ win over the Wolves. Tavian Brown (25) would assist on the tackle.