E.A. Sports Today

Turnovers derail Indians

Ohatchee stays with Sylvania most of the game, but turnovers at key times proved to be the Indians’ undoing

Ohatchee’s Domonique Thomas (7) awaits the pitch from quarterback Grayson Alward on the option during Friday’s playoff game with Sylvania. On the cover, Alward looks for running room. (Photos by Candra Roberts/Fort Payne Times-Journal)

By Marysa Wigley
Special to East Alabama Sports Today

SYLVANIA – The Sylvania Rams survived a tough first-round battle with seventh-ranked Ohatchee Friday, advancing to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs with a 37-14 win.

The Rams (10-1) scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter after Ohatchee (8-3) had cut its deficit to two with a touchdown early in the second half.

Sylvania’s offense clicked into gear on its opening possession. Junior tailback Kris Shavers capped a 58-yard drive with a touchdown run. Christian Andrade’s PAT gave the Rams a 7-0 lead early.

Grayson Alward answered back quickly for the Indians with a 72-yard touchdown run just two minutes later to tie the game.

Sylvania turned the ball over on an interception, but followed with a defensive stand in its own territory to keep the score knotted.

Andrade gave the Rams back the lead with a 28-yard field goal to make it 10-7 with 8:02 to play in the half.

Five minutes later, the Indians muffed a Sylvania punt. Blake Spears swiftly scooped up the live ball and ran it in for a touchdown at the 3:08 mark. Andrade’s PAT was unsuccessful and it was a 16-7 game at halftime.

Alward came up with another big play on a 17-yard touchdown run to cap a 72-yard scoring drive to start the second half for Ohatchee. That cut Sylvania’s lead to two, but the Indians wouldn’t move any closer to taking a lead.

Neither team scored again until a 5-yard run to the end zone by Shavers made it 23-14 with 10:49 remaining in regulation.

The Indians coughed up the ball again on their following drive and Sylvania’s Paul Griffin recovered. That led to a 2-yard touchdown run by Spears with 5:38 to play.

The Rams’ Ethan Dover punched in the final score of the night on a 23-yard score to seal Sylvania’s second straight trip to Class 3A’s Sweet 16. The Rams will be on the road next week at West Morgan, a team they blew away in last year’s opening round 42-6.

Marysa Wigley is a correspondent for the Fort Payne Times-Journal.

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