Douglas County traveled to East Coweta Friday night, losing its second straight game, 28-14. East Coweta jumped ahead thanks to to a strong ground attack.
At the 7:25 mark in the first quarter, Carlos Ford ran up the middle for a 2-yard touchdown, capping a long drive and giving the Indians the early lead. Cole Antler converted the extra point to make it 7-0.
The Indians went ahead 14-0 when Devonte Brown ran left for a 5-yard touchdown with 4:43 left in the first quarter. It looked as if it were going to be a blowout, but Douglas did not quit. The Tigers responded on their next drive.
With 3:05 left in the first, Quarterback Malik Oliver found Donovan Richardson for a 50-yard bomb through the air for the Tigers' first score, cutting the deficit to 15-6. Douglas County's 2-point conversion was unsuccessful when Oliver was tacked short of the endzone.
Both teams struggled moving the ball in the second quarter, but the period was marred by the loss of Jonathan Cline. DC lost the senior defensive lineman to what looked like a devastating leg injury. Coach Jason Respert said after the game that it looks like a broken ankle.
"Our hearts are broken for him,” Respert said. “He's a DC Tiger through and through, and he is what our program is all about. Hard working kid that does what he is asked to do. He’s Mr. 36."
East Coweta got on the board again late in the first half when Lernilous Newsom ran outside for a 12-yard touchdown with 1:35 before the half. The Indiana took a 21-6 lead into halftime.
Douglas County started the second half strong. The Tigers turned things around forcing an early turnover. Darryl Avery recovered a fumble on East Coweta’s first possession of the half. On the following play, the Tigers used a wideout option, when Oliver passed it to Richardson, who remained behind the line of scrimmage, tossing to a wide-open Israel Strickland. Strickland was chased down and tackled at the one yard line.
It took the Tigers several plays to get into the endzone, but on fourth and goal, Oliver found D'Ondre Glenn on an out route cutting the deficit to 21-12. Oliver then found Drake Battle on the 2-point conversion to make it a one-possession game, 21-14.
With under two minutes to play in the third, Douglas County had a special teams blunder, a muffed punt of just 12 yards, giving the Indians the ball on the DC’s 28-yard line. East Coweta cashed in on the short field, scoring on a quarterback bootleg when Will Morris scampered for a touchdown with 10:03 left to play in the fourth. The extra point made it 28-14.
Oliver took a key sack midway through the fourth quarter, stopping the Tigers on third down and knocking them out of field goal range.
"You have to give East Coweta a lot of credit. They are a physical team and Coach Pardue knows that he's doing," said Respert. "We have to coach them better and we have to play better than what we did tonight."
East Coweta used a strong running game to dominate the ball most of the fourth quarter, and an interception by Alec Jimerson with 1:16 to play ended all hopes of a DC comeback.
Douglas County will play Campbell next week. The Tigers will need to win its final two games to have a chance at the playoffs.
"We have to win out," said Respert. "We have to face two athletics teams, and we will have to show a lot of effort and focus in order to give ourselves a chance."