In front of its homecoming crowd, Douglas County used a late touchdown and some strong defense to hold off Tri-Cities for a 19-16 region win on Friday night at Jimmy Johnson Stadium.
With the win, the Tigers improve to 7-1 overall and 5-1 in Region 5-AAAAAA.
After an 80-yard fumble return touchdown put the Bulldogs ahead 16-12, senior running back Deon Rainey plunged up the middle for a five-yard touchdown with 10:58 left to play that put the Tigers ahead for good at 19-16.
Rainey finished with 122 yards on 23 carries and the game-winning touchdown.
Though the win may not have been the prettiest of the season, Douglas County coach Johnny White will take it.
“You're not supposed to win with seven turnovers, that’s just the bottom line,” White said. “”But I'd rather have an ugly win over a great loss any day.”
The seven turnovers was the most all season for the Tigers. Though their play may have been sloppy, it was a strong defensive performance that helped them pull out the victory.
While Douglas was heavy favorites over Tri-Cities (1-6, 1-4) coming into the game, the contest was all but easy.
"Even though their record may not be great, those kids over there fight," White said. “We tried to tell our team, if we don't get them out of here early it's going to be a dog fight."
And a dog fight it was.
Trailing at halftime 6-2, the Tigers looked to get off to a strong start in the second half. But on their very first possession, Rainey fumbled the ball giving the the Bulldogs a short field.
Tri-Cities capitalized with a 36-yard field goal to go up 9-2 with five minutes left in the third quarter.
Needing a spark, the Tigers turned to Braelen Oliver.
On their next possession, Oliver got a short screen pass and turned it into a 68-yard touchdown with 4:27 left in the third quarter. The Tigers missed the extra-point, keeping the game tied at 9-all.
Douglas County then forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, leading to a 30-yard field goal by Jairo Gonzalez for a 12-9 lead with 3:01 remaining in the third quarter.
The Tigers looked to add to their lead on their next possession, but the turnover bug struck again.
Oliver fumbled and Tri-Cities' Kentavious Rogers picked it up and raced 80 yards for the score and a 16-12 lead going into the final period.
Rainey's five-yard touchdown on Douglas' first possession of the fourth quarter capped an 80-yard drive, helping the Tigers recapture the lead and the victory.
The Bulldogs had several chances to either tie the game or take the lead, but the Tigers forced three turnovers, two interceptions and a fumble, in the final 10 minutes to pull away with the win.
"I thought our defense played very well, especially when we needed them,” White said.
Douglas County looks to finish strong heading into the playoffs. The Tigers are off next week, come back to host Creekside, then travel to Alexander for the rivalry game to finish off the season.