E.A. Sports Today

Ohatchee overpowering

Undefeated Indians shut down Red Bay run game, advance to mega-matchup with Fyffe

Ohatchee’s Wyatt Reaves (61) and Gabe Huff move in on Red Bay’s Colbie King. On the cover, the Indians take Hunter King off his feet. (All photos by Greg Warren)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OHATCHEE — Red Bay coach Michael Jackson thought his team ran the football pretty well this year, but the Tigers never ran into a defense the likes of Ohatchee.

The Tigers had been averaging more than 260 yards a game on the ground in this bounce back season, but were held to just 20 yards in three quarters-plus against No. 2 Ohatchee’s starters Friday in a 42-6 loss in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.

The Indians (11-0) now travel to No. 1 Fyffe (12-0) in the quarterfinals after snapping the Tigers’ six-game winning streak. The teams played to a 7-7 tie in a preseason jamboree in Week Zero, but Ohatchee coach Scott Martin said that half will have no bearing on this upcoming game.

Some may consider the matchup the unofficial 2A state championship. All Martin would say to that is it would be a great atmosphere for a high school football game and he hopes “it’s as good a game as it’s going to be built up to be.”

But the Indians couldn’t be in it if they didn’t take care of business Friday night against a team that changed its offensive approach early in the season to become more physical.

They held the Tigers (9-3) to 8 yards of offense (on 12 plays) in the first half — all rushing — and 27 yards total before Martin went to the reserves. A slick field didn’t help, but it was more Ohatchee’s swarming defense never gave them a chance to get any footing.

“I would say that was the best our run defense has played all year,” Martin said. “But I’ve seen it coming.”

Jackson agreed it was “the best defense we’ve seen — by far.”

Red Bay finished with 106 yards total, half of it coming on Glenan Humphres’ 53-yard run against the reserves that set up the Tigers’ only touchdown. Humphres scored it on a 2-yard run with 1:50 to play.

Humphres finished with 70 yards rushing. The Indians held Red Bay 1,300-yard rusher Colbie King to only 23 yards on 11 carries.

“I told our kids it was going to be a great challenge for us,” Martin said. “For us to three-and-out them all four series they had the ball in the first half … I can’t say enough about how great our defense played all night long.”

“It was the defensive linemen, they are some dogs,” linebacker Cam McCombs said. “They were just pounding the line, getting in the trenches. Nobody even touched me. I was just coming free and trying to kill the person with the ball. Our run defense is top notch.”

With the defense doing its job, Ohatchee’s controlled the clock with impeccable execution on a field described as “semi-sloppy.” The Indians took advantage of the short field to score their first two touchdowns and pulled off a big pass play on fourth-and-8 to take a 21-0 halftime lead.

Domonique Thomas pushed over from the 2 for the first score with 6:31 left in the first quarter and quarterback Grayson Alward swept in from the 3 with a minute left in the quarter.

The Indians made it 21-0 when Alward dumped a screen to Thomas on fourth-and-8 with 11.5 seconds left in the half and the junior back went 24 yards for the score.

They sealed it with two tournaments in the first two minutes of the third quarter. Thomas went 73 yards on the first play out of the locker room and McCombs went in from the 1 after the Indians recovered a Red Bay double fumble inside the 10.

“Right before we walked out I told my linemen get on their hip, step on their throats and lets finish this game,” Thomas said. “First play of the half we mashed them.”

“Just as a team game, the last few games we’ve really played well; it seems like we’re on a roll,” Martin said. “The great thing is about Week 3 or 4 everybody was asking if you keep going when are you going to get to play Fyffe and I’d say I’m not worried about Fyffe, I can’t tell you, the next game up is what’s important and those are the only things our kids are looking forward to. We’ll worry about that when that time has come. Well, that time has come.”

Ohatchee 42, Red Bay 6
Team stats RB Ohat

First downs 4 12
Rushes-yds 32-99 53-283
Passes 1-7-0 1-2-0
Passing yds 7 24
Fumbles-lost 3-1 0-0
Punts-avg 5-29.8 1-40.0
Penalties-yds 4-32 0-0

Scoring summary
Red Bay 0 0 0 6 – 6
Ohatchee 14 7 14 7 – 42

O – Domonique Thomas 2 run (Gage Harrell kick), 6:31 1Q
O – Grayson Alward 3 run (Gage Harrell kick), 1:04 1Q
O – Domonique Thomas 24 pass from Grayson Alward (Gage Harrell kick), 0:11 2Q
O – Domonique Thomas 73 run (Gage Harrell kick), 11:42 3Q
O – Cam McCombs 1 run (Gage Harrell kick), 10:00 3Q
O – Ryker Lambright 3 run (Gage Harrell kick), 10:05 4Q
RB – Glenan Humphres 2 run (run failed), 1:50 4Q

Dominique Thomas (7) pulls away from Red Bay’s Jake Pounds on his way to a touchdown in the closing seconds of the first half Friday.

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