With a shot at earning a place in the 6A playoff picture, the Douglas County Tigers went into Friday's game at Pebblebrook in pursuit of not only a win, but a shot at controlling their own post season destiny.
Luckily, all scenarios played into Douglas County's hands as they brought home not only a 33-10 victory over the Falcons, but a shot to take their program to the next level.
After taking control of the game early, head coach Jason Respert said his team was aware of the importance of going into this game and beating Pebblebrook by 15 or more points to clinch a playoff spot.
"Our guys knew coming in to the game and knew what the situation was," said Respert. "But, the good thing about tonight was that we controlled our own destiny. At this point, we are a program that has not been in the playoffs since 2007. We are going to be grateful and thankful to get in and we are going to prepare to be competitive next week."
Not wasting any time, Douglas County rallied behind the early offensive efforts of quarterback Malik Oliver and receiver Donovan Richardson. Earning three touchdowns before the end of the opening quarter, Richardson put the Tigers up to an early 21-3 lead over the Falcons.
The Falcons finally threatened late in the second quarter, but after the DC defense forced a fumble and recovered, any hope for an opposing touchdown before the half was diminished.
Taking advantage of their opportunistic possession, the Tigers drove to inside the Pebblebrook 30. Primed to score with time ticking before the half, DC had to work to overcome a couple of back-to-back penalties and negative yardage. Showing their ability to overcome obstacles, Oliver took the shot from the 34-yard line and landed another pass into the hands of Richardson to extend the lead with 29 seconds on the clock. Although the try for the two point conversion was no good, the Tigers were up 27-3 at the half.
Both teams were held scoreless in the third, but the Tigers were not through with their run just yet.
After blocking a Pebblebrook punt to begin the fourth quarter, the Tiger offense once again found the momentum and embarked on their final scoring run of the night. With 8:44 to go, Oliver lined up a perfect strike down the center of the field to Israel Strickland for another Tiger touchdown. The extra point attempt was wide right, but Douglas County held the 33-3 lead.
Although the Tiger defense did not give much ground, the Falcons finally earned their only touchdown of the night with 5:47 to go.
DC finished the season with a 4-3 region record and a 5-5 overall record. The Tigers will travel to Hillgrove High School in Cobb County on Friday for their first round game. Hillgove defeated McEachern int he final game of the regular season to win the Region 4-AAAAAA crown.
"We got a special thing that we are starting at Douglas County and we've got a great administration that has been extremely supportive of us and the things we needed to do to build our program and a playoff team," said Respert. "And, obviously our guys, they’ve been through a lot and I praise God for their resiliency to just keep fighting and to trust their coaches."