Unfortunately for Douglas County, things didn’t work out that way in game where a playoff spot was on the line for the winner and the offseason awaited the loser.
Tri-Cities used its athleticism to score on five of its first six possessions en route to beating the Tigers 35-0 here last night to earn the No. 4 seed in Region 3-AAAAAA. Douglas County ends its season at 2-8 overall and 1-4 in region play.
“It’s frustrating to me, but I know God has a plan,” Tigers first-year coach Jason Respert said. “He has a plan for our program. We’ve put in a lot of work. Obviously it was not in His will tonight for us to make it to the playoffs. We didn’t’ play well enough to even compete with these guys.”
Douglas County fumbled the ball twice and Tigers senior quarterback Ellis Richardson was intercepted three times in a game the Bulldogs (4-6, 2-3 Region 3-AAAAAA) dominated from start to finish.
Richardson’s first interception halted Douglas County’s initial drive in the second half and gave the Bulldogs the ball at the Tiger 10. The Bulldogs upped their 14-0 halftime lead to 21-0 two plays later on Antonio Wilcoxson’s 8-yard TD run with 8:54 left in the third.
Douglas County got to the Tri-Cities 17 late in the third only to see another Richardson pass picked off in the end zone for a touchback.
Still, Richardson finished as the Tigers’ leading offensive producer, completing 10-of-18 throws for 147 yards.
“In Ellis’ defense, we’ve got young guys out there,” said Respert. “We had a receiver suspended. We had young sophomores out there playing receiver. They just made a mistake. He threw the ball well tonight. His stat line will not show how well he threw the ball and the decisions he made. That’s why it’s a team game.”
The Tri-Cities defense rendered Douglas County’s ground game mostly useless. The Tigers had 25 carries for 59 yards, most of those coming on the legs of senior Terrell Gibson, who ran the ball 11 times for 54 yards.
Tri-Cities fumbled the game’s opening kickoff out of bounds at its own 5-yard line, but quarterback Kareem Wallace took off for 49 yards on the first play to get the Bulldogs out of the hole in a hurry.
Wallace finished off the nine-play drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to put the Bulldogs up 7-0 with 6:42 in the first quarter.
Douglas County drove to the Tri-Cities 1 on its opening possession, but Richardson fumbled a bad snap on second-and-goal for a 7-yard loss and his pass on third down fell incomplete. Juan Serna’s 25-yard field goal attempt missed.
Tri-Cities struck again on its second possession with a new quarterback running the Bulldogs’ offense. Demetrius McClendon proved just as capable as Wallace, alternating keepers with handoffs to running back Charles Middlebrooks. McClendon finished off the eight-play drive with a 2-yard keeper to put Tri-Cities up 14-0 with 8:23 to go in the second quarter.
After Wilcoxson’s score to open the second half, Middlebrooks added a score late in the third to put the Bulldogs ahead 28-0 and Tri-Cities added its final TD midway through the fourth to coast to the easy win.
Middlebrooks led Tri-Cities with 12 carries for 102 yards.