Straughn takes Opp out of playoffs

Published 12:03 am Saturday, October 27, 2012

Straughn coach John Fussell said his defense felt like they had something to prove Friday night.

The proof was in the Tigers’ defense.

The Tigers shut out Opp 13-0 in the first half and outscored the Bobcats 8-7 in the final 24 minutes to claim a 21-7 region victory at Channel-Lee Stadium.

“They just got after it all night long,” Fussell said. “They read their keys and plays hard and read the secondary. It was a total team effort.”

On defense, SHS held Opp to only 59 yards rushing for the game.

Last week, SHS fell in a bitter 19-17 loss to T.R. Miller, where leading rusher Dominique Jackson had more than 200 yards.

With this victory, the Tigers clinched a berth to play in the Class 3A state playoffs. SHS is the No. 4 seed and will have to travel to face the No. 1 seed of Region 2, Daleville.

To celebrate the win, SHS sang its alma mater and doused head coach Trent Taylor with icy cold water.

“Our kids did a great job up front,” Taylor said about the first half. “We felt like they (the Bobcats) were going to walk everybody up, but we couldn’t change what we do. We challenged our offensive line and they did a great job.”

This loss and W.S. Neal’s 34-26 victory over TRM Friday put the Bobcats out of the playoff hunt.

OHS head football coach Jack Whigham said he’ll take full responsibility for the outcome.

“We didn’t have any offense at all in the first half,” Whigham said. “I thought we had a decent game plan depending on what they had done in the past. They do a great job of coaching. My coaches did a great job.

“I’ve got to make sure I do a better job and spend the hours it takes,” he said. “I thought I do that, but evidently I didn’t. I thought I’d get kids to come and play two weeks in a row.”

Opp cut the game to 13-7 with 11:55 to go in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard touchdown rush from senior running back Onterrio Jones and the extra point attempt.

Straughn took over at its own 27-yard line and a couple plays later, put the game out of reach for the Bobcats, despite a late try for another score.

Tigers sophomore running back Daryl George got a late pitch from senior quarterback Chase Short, was surprised and then took the ball 69 yards for a TD with 10:05 left in the contest. Short, who waited until the last second, also got a key block on the end to open up a hole for George to scamper in for the score.

“Chase scared me because he was not supposed to pitch it,” George said. “He pitched with his inside hand and he turned around. It just hit me right in the chest and I was like, oh, so I just kept running.”

Even though it was his fourth touchdown of the season, George said it felt great to get the score.

“It was fun,” he said. “I hadn’t had one (in a while).”

Straughn jumped out to its first-half lead thanks to great blocking from the offensive line and two touchdown rushes from Short.

Short’s first came on a 27-yard scamper with 3:44 left in the first quarter, and his second occurred from 1-yard out with 8:53 left in the half.

“Straughn played really, really well,” Whigham said. “They took care of the ball. The tackled well. They made the plays they had to.”

The Tigers will have an open date next week to have a little more time to get ready for the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 9.

Taylor said he’s never had a situation where there were two weeks before his next football game. He said it will give his players a lot of time to “heal.”

“I think this (break) will be great for us,” he said.

When asked what it felt like to get a berth in the playoffs, Taylor said it was “huge” for the team.

“I told everybody all year long, if we’re in the playoffs, I look like a genius, if we’re not, I look like an idiot,” he said. “I didn’t realize how close of an idiot I’d been.

“If we had lost, we’d been at home next week, or, we would’ve been taking up stuff,” he said. “That’s pretty huge.”

Opp had the ball for the final 2:51 of the game, as starting quarterback Ethan Davis tried to find open receivers. The Bobcats couldn’t punch the ball in the end zone, despite the valiant effort.

George rushed 88 yards on four carries and had one TD. Scott added 61 yards on 19 carries. Short had 42 yards on 15 carries and two scores.

Opp hosts Pike County next week.