Youth Tigers man up in crunch time, win 2nd WAYFA title

(Photo by Rachel King)

(Photo by Rachel King)

NORTHPORT—The 9-10-year-old Demopolis Tiger football team won its’ second consecutive West Alabama Youth Football Association Championship Saturday afternoon in grand fashion, beating the Junior Titans of Irondale by a score of 12-6.

The contest, held at Echols Middle School, featured all the factors needed to equate a memorable championship performance in that of quality plays, passionate fans and last-second drama.

Irondale looked to tie or take the lead after retaining possession at the 50 yard line with 49.9 seconds left in regulation. A first down run of 12 yards by Malik Khalid Cook set the attendance on the edge of their seats. Cook’s 9-yard burst the following play would bring them to their feet.

The Titans hurried to the line for a second-and-one attempt as they had no remaining timeouts and 33.9 ticks left to play. A toss sweep play to the left side saw LaQuinton Wright of the Demopolis defense upend the Titan ball carrier for a 4-yard loss. The Titans felt the wrath of the Tigers’defense once more the following snap, setting up a fourth-and-four with 10 seconds on the clock and counting.

Miscommunication was to blame when Lazarius Hinkle mistakenly spiked the fourth down snap in an attempt to stop the clock. It wouldn’t matter, however, as the game clock had struck 0:00 by the time the play got under way, sealing Demopolis’s championship fate.

“What an unbelievable finish,” Tigers’ coach Jim Logan said following his team’s thrilling win. “Our guys, I’ll tell you what, I love each and every one of them. They fight hard each and every play until the very end. Irondale jumped on us quick with the first kickoff and we didn’t flinch. We played solid defense, moved the football, and kept positive after mistakes.”

Malik Cook started things off with a bang to say the least, returning the opening kick 70 yards down the sideline and into the end zone for an early Titan lead.

Demopolis provided a jolt of their own with a 9-play TD drive of 45 yards on its ensuing possession.

Great blocking and tremendous running talent allowed the Tigers to answer with 2:10 remaining in the opening quarter when Timothy Thurman’s seventh carry of the drive put the score at 6-6.

The second and final score of the contest came by way of another methodical drive by Demopolis; this one totaling 73 yards on 10 plays in 4:03.

Timothy Thurman II, C.J. Sandridge and Peyton Stevenson all produced positive gains before Stevenson capped things off by way of a QB sneak from 1 yard out, giving the Junior Tigers a 12-6 lead of which they would not relinquish.

“I’ve got to thank my coaching staff,” Logan emphasized when commenting on the tremendously challenging task of repeating. “My gosh, they’re great. I couldn’t ask for anything more. They had them ready to play and that’s what it’s all about.”

The Demopolis 10U Tigers consist of Timothy Thurman II, C.J. Sandridge, Houston Jones, Peyton Stevenson, Decorrius Hicks, Brayden Harris, Devante Brown, Cedric Burrell, Mac Logan, Jataurrean Jones, Nathaniel Blake Ballard, Timarcus Dantrell Grayson, Chirstdon Purse Jr., Trenton Rishard Gracie, Cam’ron M. Wright, LaQuinton M. Wright, Jeremy Conwell, Joseph Robertson, Bryan Bennett, O’ryan Bennett, Kenon Rowser Jr., Grey Sharpe, Brandon Franklin, Jakhari Smith, Will Rodney Cork, Cortez Johnson, Barry Ethridge, Brody Osburn, Kaden Cherry, Chandler King, Samson Braxton, T.J. Upchurch, Anthony Howerton, Christopher Drake Wilkinson, Cade Grace, Tyrik Daniels, Scott Ethridge, Matthew Witherspoon and Joshua A. Mason.