Tigers get first on-field action of Seymore era

Alexander Besteder breaks into the open on a long run Friday night. Besteder finished the night with 135 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.

The result is not recorded and the stats do not count but the win certainly mattered to the players on the field Friday night in Demopolis High’s spring football game against Class 6A Northridge.

After the Jaguars connected on a 33-yard field goal with 47.2 seconds to go in the varsity half of the contest to take a 10-7 lead, Demopolis put together a clutch drive to win the game 13-10. Andrew Patterson hit A.J. Jackson for a 27-yard gain on a screen pass before later dishing to Brandon Simmons for a 17-yard pickup. Patterson dumped off to Jackson again for a 4-yard scamper on a screen before a facemask penalty against Northridge tacked on 15 more yards. After an ineligible receiver downfield incurred a flag against the Tigers, Patterson dropped a pass right in the waiting arms of a wide open receiver in the end zone only to watch the pass bounce off the turf as the clock wound down to 0.1 seconds remaining.

Patterson proceeded to take the final snap of the game, survey the field and throw to the right pylon where fellow senior Jeremy Jackson hauled in the pass and stepped into the end zone for the touchdown.

Myles Jones (28) and C.J. Williams close in on Northridge receiver Trip Daniels.

“I saw my quarterback signal me for a fade. I just ran the fade, he laid it up there to me, I caught it,” the senior receiver said. “I thought I was out. I saw I wasn’t out. I just stuck my foot over that pylon. I saw them throw their hands up. I knew we had gotten the W. It was great. That was my first ever touchdown.”

“I love my receivers. The O-line protected for me. I was able to make a good throw. My boy Jeremy came down with the catch,” Patterson added.

While the end result will not be reflected on the Tigers’ record, head coach Brian Seymore was pleased with the way his team handled the situation with which they were faced at the end of the contest.

“I think that’s what you look for too. I think that’s what you play for. They raised their intensity. They made their field goal. Their fans got jacked up, players got jacked up. I like the way our kids kind of stayed low key, kind of stayed reserved. You’ve got to execute. We got a big run by A.J. on the screen,” Seymore said. “We had another opportunity right here and had a drop. Blessed to have one tenth of a second left, we throw the fade ball to Jeremy. He goes up and makes a good catch and stays in bounds.”

Tyler Hale drags defenders on a run up the middle.

The varsity squad for both schools took the field for the second half, with Northridge opening the scoring before Demopolis got its starting defense to settle down and make plays.

“I don’t know if it was nerves, a little bit timid. We tried to stay base. We made some plays early. Of course, they scored the early touchdown,” Seymore said. “I think we finally settled down. We finally went back to our base defense. We just started playing base defense and let our kids get a feel for the game in the right positions and they started making some plays.”

When the defense did settle down, it proved an opportunistic unit. The Tigers got interceptions by Roderick Gaines and Russ Logan as well as a fumble recovery from Davian Williams and a sack by Erin White. Aaron Collier also showed himself well at safety, takin a sharp angle to chase down a Northridge ball carrier some 60 yards downfield to save a touchdown and hold the Jaguars to their late field goal chance.

Jeremy Jackson and DeDe Davis watch the junior varsity portion of the Friday’s Jamboree game. The duo accounted for both of Andrew Patterson’s touchdown passes during the varsity portion of the night.

“There’s so much time for us to improve on things, find some other kids that can help us in different areas. There’s so many things that there is room to grow on,” Seymore said. “We had five coaches on the sideline tonight, so we’re still filling a staff. There’s so many areas for us to improve, but I think we’ll have a pretty good football team by the fall.”

The varsity offense found its rhythm with Patterson behind center. The senior signal-caller threw for 155 yards and two touchdowns in only two quarters during his first trial run within Seymore’s offensive system.

“It’s been rough, the adjustments, all the calls and everything. But I got it down good for the spring game,” Patterson said. “I was just comfortable with dropping back. That’s my main thing I’m good at right there. I’m just comfortable with dropping back in the pocket and throwing.”

Trey Murdock watches the action Friday night.

“He threw the ball well,” Seymore said. “I thought he executed well. We are really just on the cusp of putting the offense in. We’ll open it up more as we get the summer to work with kids.”

Patterson’s first touchdown came on a 32-yard catch-and-run by DeDe Davis. Brandon Simmons led the Tiger receivers with 50 yards on three catches. A.J. Jackson added 44 yards on four receptions. Davis finished with 46 yards on two hauls.

“Schematically, it’s a whole new offense and a whole new defense. We’re on the cusp of doing some new things on both sides of the ball. We’re trying to keep it real basic,” Seymore, who was just took over as head coach in February, said. “You’ve got to win those balls. That’s something we’ve worked on every day at practice. We finally held onto one and it turned out real well.”

The night began with the junior varsity squads facing off, a confrontation that also favored Demopolis to the tune of a 28-7 half for the Tigers. Alexander Besteder showed off his running ability from the quarterback spot, amassing 135 yards rushing on only seven carries. He opened the night with a 64-yard touchdown run. After a Fred Haywood fumble recovery, Besteder flashed his arm talent by hitting C.J. Williams  for a 17-yard touchdown pass. Besteder later broke a 46-yard touchdown run near the end of the first quarter on a busted play in which he scooped a bad snap off the ground and weaved in, around and through the Jaguar defense for the score. The final touchdown of the half came when freshman Jim Lawler hit junior Tyquan Alston for a 17-yard scoring strike. Freshman kicker Malaki Simpson connected on all of his extra point opportunities in the game.

Brian Seymore and offensive coordinator Matt Mellown look on during the first half of Friday’s spring game against Northridge.

While the game is a far cry from where Demopolis figures to be come August, the Tigers are hopeful the momentum will carry forward into the summer and beyond.

“It meant a lot. Northridge is a 6A team. We’ve got to play two 7A teams this year. We know we can do it. We’ve just got to execute the right plays,” Patterson said of the significance of the spring jamboree win. “It’s only three or four plays that are going to make a difference in the game and we made that one play.”