E.A. Sports Today

Indians repeat

Ohatchee handles Ranburne 20-7 to claim back-to-back region titles for first time in 38 years

Ranburne’s defense brings down Ohatchee running back Domonique Thomas (7). Despite the Bulldogs’ best efforts, Thomas still rushed for 150 yards. On the cover, Thomas and Indians quarterback Eli Ennis celebrate a region title.

By Jeremy Wortham
For East Alabama Sports Today
RANBURNE – The Ohatchee Indians have been making history from the day Scott Martin arrived as their coach, and they added a big piece of it Friday night.
“First back-to-back region champions in 38 years,” Martin proclaimed as he praised his team on its 20-7 victory over Ranburne.
The last time the Indians went back-to-back, jack, it was 1980-81 when coach Richard Littleton was at the helm.
In a game that featured two of Class 2A’s top offenses and defenses it would be in the trenches where the battle would be fought.
“Coming into the year we knew that we weren’t real big but we felt like we had a real physical line and that they play good technique,” Martin said.
With an open week and fall break these last two weeks, the Indians (7-0, 5-0) tried to keep things as close to routine as possible. That meant even though there was no school, the regulars reported in the morning and engaged in activities to simulate a regular Friday. Once the afternoon arrived it was business as usual.

Once they got on the field they stuck to the same battle plan they’ve used all year to have continued success. That plan was to lean heavily on their physical offensive line to pave the way for Domonique Thomas to run.
It worked as well as ever as the Indians ran the ball 44 times among their 45 plays and it got Thomas 150 yards rushing against the No. 2 defense in Class 2A. Oh, the one pass they threw, it went for a 25-yard touchdown to open the scoring.
“They had a lot of fans, we brought a lot of fans, everyone was loud,” Martin said. “This was a playoff style atmosphere for a high school football game. I told our kids this is why you play this game, to have a night like this, to play in a setting like this.”.
Martin didn’t wait long to dip into the trick playbook. The sole pass of the game for the Indians also sparked the first points. A trick pass by Eli Ennis connected with Cade Williamson from 25 yards out.
“We work on it every year; it’s burnt now, I can’t use it again this year,” said Martin. “The last time we used it was against Fyffe. I said if we got around the 30-yard line I was going to go ahead and call it. It’s only a one-down play so if I don’t make it, I don’t make. We’ve been working on the execution of it all year, it’s just you never know when you’re going to have to pull it out.”
The Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1) answered back for their only score of the game. It was a 60-yard drive capped off by Gunner Hollis scoring from 1 yard out, but as a credit to Ohatchee’s defense they were unable to establish any successful drive after.
“I can’t say enough about our defense,” Martin said. “We kept getting after it.”
With their defense yielding nothing, the Indians took control of the game by scoring twice in the final 3:30 of the second quarter to take a 20-7 halftime lead. Then the teams slugged it out in the second half. It was the first four-quarter game they’ve had all season.
“We’ve got to play these types of games because when you get in the playoffs this is the kind of teams we’re going to play,” Martin said. “There’s some really quality football teams in 2A on the North end.”
One quality team in particular is Fyffe. The Red Devils beat Ohatchee 21-13 in the quarterfinals last season and went on to win the Class 2A state title.
The bigger implications outside of winning the region championship and remaining undefeated were that the loser would have to travel to Fyffe in the second round, whereas the winner wouldn’t see it until the semifinals with a high probability of being able to host. All of that is assuming teams win out as they should.
“I’m really glad to get a game like this because we haven’t had one like this all year,” Martin said. “We haven’t had one where we had to push our kids for 48 minutes and we were able to do it and our kids came through and won a big game on the road.”

Ohat (20)Ranb (7)
141st D12
0Fum lost2

Ohatchee               7  13  0 0  –  20
Ranburne              0   7   0 0   –   7 
Scoring plays
O – Cade Williamson 25 pass from Eli Ennis (Emerson Abac kick), 4:00 1Q
R –  Gunner Hollis 1 run (Caden Mitchell kick), 9:41 2Q
O – Eli Ennis 14 run (Emerson Abac kick), 3:32 2Q.
O – Domonique Thomas 12 run (kick failed), 0:25 2Q

The Ohatchee defense is all over Ranburne ballcarrier Gunner Hollis.

Photos by Jonathan Fordham

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