E.A. Sports Today

Donoho dominates

Falcons rout Appalachian to clinch second place in 1A Region 5 and a first-round home playoff game

By Brant Locklier 
For East Alabama Sports Today
 
The Donoho Falcons get bring a familiar foe to a familiar place when they open the playoffs this year.
 
The Falcons defeated Appalachian 51-6 on a soggy, rainy Senior Night Friday to clinch second place in Class 1A Region 5 and assure themselves of a home game in the first round of the playoffs.
 
The opponent is someone they’ve seen before. They’ll host Berry, a team they beat 17-14 on Sept. 27.
 
“We beat a good team tonight and we just kept grinding the whole game,” Donoho coach Mark Sanders said. “That is what we need to do to go a long way in the playoffs. We scored 51 points and our offense is really coming along. Our defense carried us in the first part of the year.”
 
The Eagles (6-4, 3-3) started the game with a successful onsides kick, but that was about all the good news they had in the first half until Alton Giles scored on a 6-yard run late in the second quarter.

Prior to that score, the Falcons (8-1, 5-1) reeled off the first 23 points of the game. They did it using a balanced offense as Amari Smedley ran for a 63-yard score, Reid Williamon dove in from the 1 and Ridge Hopkins threw touchdown passes to Cam Thomas (18 yards) and Williamon (22 yards).
 
The Falcons also picked up a safety when the Eagles snapped a punt out of the end zone. One other drive ended with an interception at the 1.
 
The Falcons rolled up 339 first half yards to just 126 for the Eagles. Edwin Connell recovered two fumbles for the Falcons in the first half.

The Falcons kept the pressure on in the second half with Hopkins throwing his third touchdown of the game to Smedley from 14 yards out. Hopkins then scored on a 1- yard quarterback sneak to give Donoho a 44-6 lead.
 
Hopkins, a sophomore, was 11 of 18 passing for 182 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 55 yards on six carries.Rod Elston had a big game on the ground, rushing for 175 yards on 16 carries. Smedley had 81 yards on just three carries.
 
“Hopkins continues to get better as the season goes on,” Sanders said. “He is learning to run the type offense I want to run here. He played pretty good tonight.”

Connor Goodson got the final touchdown after a 30-yard drive in the final quarter. Ethan Miles-Jamison was 7-for-7 on his point after kicks.

It was the seventh straight win for the Falcons over the Eagles and 13thin the last 14 meetings. The Falcons lead the all-time series 18-10.
 
Donoho travels to Woodland next week, while Appalachian is off having finished its regular season. The Eagles await their postseason fate with all the tiebreakers as they finished in a three-way tie for fourth in Region 5.

App (6)Don (51)
131st D18
42-123Rush33-345
8-17-2C-A-I11-18-1
69Pass182
2-2F-L1-1
1-45.0Punts4-41.5
5-44Pens3-25


Appalachian  0   6   0   0  –  6
Donoho         14  16 14  7  –  51
Scoring Plays
D – Amari Smedley 63 run (Ethan Miles-Jamison kick), 8:02 1Q
D – Cam Thomas 18 pass from Ridge Hopkins (Ethan Miles-Jamison kick), 5:36 1Q
D – Safety, ball snapped out of end zone, 9:48 2Q
D – Reid Williamon 1 run (Ethan Miles-Jamison kick), 7:45 2Q
A – Alton Giles 5 run (run failed), 3:52 2Q
D – Reid Williamon 22 pass from Ridge Hopkins (Ethan Miles-Jamison kick), 1:29 2Q
D – Amari Smedley 14 pass from Ridge Hopkins (Ethan Miles-Jamison kick), 9:32 3Q
D – Ridge Hopkins 1 run (Ethan Miles-Jamison kick), 4:24 3Q
D – Conner Goodson 9 run (Ethan Miles-Jamison kick), 2:38 4Q



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