Douglas County enters the final week of the 2014 regular season with playoff hopes on the line. A lot of what the Tigers can do this Friday is not in their hands with East Coweta and South Cobb also vying for playoff positions.
One thing is for certain, if DC does not beat Pebblebrook on Friday, then there will be no next game. The Tigers currently sit in a tie for fourth place in Region 3-AAAAAA with South Cobb, a team Douglas County beat earlier in the season to hold the tiebreaker. Both teams are 3-3 in region play and 4-5 overall.
“This is the biggest opportunity we have had in some times,” said DC coach Jason Respert. “It is important for our guys to go out and focus only on what they can control, and that is Pebblebrook.”
The Tigers are currently tied for third in the region in offensive production with 25 points per game. They are fourth in defense, allowing an average of 26 points per game. Pebblebrook currently sits in last place in Region 3-6A with an 0-6 region record and 2-7 overall record. Offense has been the biggest problem. They are dead last in the region with an average of 11 points per game. They are tied for fifth in defense, allowing 28 points per game.
The DC offense has been led by its quarterback, Malik Oliver. Oliver has found new life during the second half of the season. He has completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,321 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has seven interceptions. Oliver also leads the rushing attack. The duel threat QB has a team high 357 yards on 118 carries.
Last week against Campbell, Oliver was very efficient, completing 11-of-16 passes for 170 yards and two scores. He also rushed the ball 11 times for 54 yards.
The passing game has survived where the run game has not because of two very talented receivers in D’Ondre Glenn and Donovan Richardson. Richardson has 39 receptions for 542 yards. Glenn has caught 34 passes for 487 yards. Richardson has scored 10 times.
Last week, Richardson had only two catches, but the two went for 86 yards and a pair of scores. Glenn had five catches for 60 yards.
Defensively, the Tigers are well balanced with five players over 40 tackles. Linebacker Drake Battle leads the group with 77 tackles, including 35 solo. Joe Caldwell is next with 62 tackles (29 solo). Malik Hampton has 54 tackles (28 solo) and leads the team with eight tackles for a loss. DeOnta Coker has a team high 5.5 sacks, followed closely by Austin Perry with five. Avery also has a team high three interceptions.
Respert calls the Pebblebrook group an athletic bunch and a team that should not be overlooked, despite their record.
The Falcons are coming off a 38-14 loss to Langston Hughes. The defense played well, forcing two turnovers. They were led by Jesus Izaguirre, who has a team high five sacks on the year.
Offensively, it was turnovers that would prove most costly to Pebblebrook. The Falcons committed four against Langston. The offense is led by quarterback Isaiah Green, who managed to move the ball well against Langston, including having a 10-play, 66 yard drive late in the game.
A win over Pebblebrook is need for DC to advance to the playoffs. However, they do need some help. The cleanest way the Tigers will advance would be to beat Pebblebrook and to have East Coweta beat South Cobb. DC would then claim the final spot in the playoffs.
If DC were to win by 15 points or more, and South Cobb wins by 10 points or less, then the Tigers would jump all the way up to the No. 3 seed in the region. However, if South Cobb were to win by 11 points or more, then East Coweta and South Cobb would advance to the playoffs, leaving the Tigers sitting at home. The picture gets a whole lot more convoluted if the Tigers don’t win by 15 or more and South Cobb wins.
Game time for DC is set for 7:30 p.m. at Pebblebrook.