E.A. Sports Today

Tigers, D rule day

Randolph County holds Saks to 85 yards rushing, 109 total in setting up a rematch with Piedmont in the Class 3A semifinals

Saks’ Johnathon Cobb (3) tries to pull away from the clutches of Randolph County’s Demarcous Woodgett for more yardage. (Photo by Jeremy Wortham)

By Jeremy Wortham
For East Alabama Sports Today

WEDOWEE – Defense was the name of the game in Friday night’s Randolph County-Saks rematch in the Class 3A state quarterfinals, and the Tigers got the best of it, winning 19-8.

“The big thing tonight (was) points were going to be at a premium,” Saks coach Jonathan Miller said.

Tarrance Sims wraps up Saks running back Jonathan Cobb. (Photo by Jeremy Wortham)

The win sends the top-ranked Tigers (12-1) to another semifinal showdown with Piedmont, the only team to beat them this season. Last year Randolph County rallied from being down 21-0 at the half to win 35-28 to advance to the finals.

For 48 minutes RC and Saks found themselves fighting for every inch, as the two offensive rushing attacks were each held to a season low. They had a combined six punts (four for Saks), which played a part in holding the Tigers to 180 yards on the ground, while Saks managed just 85 yards.

“Our defense played outstanding the last few weeks,” Randolph County coach Pat Prestridge said. “They did an outstanding job tonight. Both teams did an outstanding job defensively.”

“We knew any time we got an opportunity we would have to take an advantage of it,” Miller said. “They are the best defensive team we’ve played all season.”

The first points of the game came after Saks bobbled a punt snap and the kick was nearly blocked in the end zone. The punt set up the Tigers in Saks territory and Atario Hester scored on a 1-yard run a few plays later with 10:30 remaining in the second. The Wildcats were unable to find any rhythm the first half, as all three of their drives ended with punts.

The Tigers went up 13-0 on Hester’s second touchdown, a 7-yad run in the third quarter.

“Any time you score it’s a big separation,” Prestridge said.

Dante Jordan added more separation for the Tigers when he rounded the left side and went 66 yards down the sideline into the end zone with 7:05 to play. Jordan finished with 98 yards rushing on eight carries; Hester had 58 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.

“We were just trying to stay out of harm’s way in the beginning,” Prestridge said.

T.J. Gibbs kept the Wildcats from being shutout by scoring their lone touchdown of the game on a 6-yard run. Jonhathon Cobb added the two-point conversion bringing the score to 19-8 with 5:25 remaining in the game.

The Wildcats went for the onside kick but were unable to recover. The defense held the Tigers to another turnover on downs leaving the Wildcats with enough time to try and get a quick score but Daveon Dukes’ pass was quickly intercepted by Demarcus Davis.

“Our guys played their hearts out and they fought,” Miller said. “It was a good, hard-fought game but we just came up on the short end of the stick.”

Randolph County 19, Saks 8
Team stats Saks RC

First downs 5 10
Rushes-yds 31-85 39-180
Passes 4-10 4-6
Passing yds 24 36
Penalties 11-95 5-35

Scoring summary
Saks 0 0 0 8 – 8
Randolph Co. 0 7 6 6 – 19

R – Aterio Hester 1 run (Branxton Daniels kick), 10:30 2Q
R – Aterio Hester 7 run (PAT failed), 1:45 3Q
R – Dante Jordan 66 run (PAT failed), 7:05 4Q
S – T.J. Gibbs 6 run (Johnathon Cobb run), 5:25 4Q

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