Tigers Swarm the Bees, 38-25

Updated: October 28, 2014

The Tigers defeated the Upperman Bees in an exciting match Friday night. It was off to a great start for DeKalb when they kicked off and AJ Mooneyham stripped the ball from the hands of Upperman’s kick returner, giving DeKalb County first possession with only ten yards to travel to the end zone. Some confusion caused the Tigers to use their first timeout before the first snap of the game, but on second down Steven Jennings tossed the ball to Luke Boss who carried it into the end zone to give the Tigers an early lead after only 21 seconds of play.

The Tiger defense then went to work, and 4 plays later the Bees punted, giving Tigers possession again at Upperman’s 46-yard-line. A flag on first down set the Tigers back five yards, but Jennings threw an 11 yard pass to Christian Pruitt and ran for 19 and 21 yards himself to take the ball into the endzone to put the Tigers ahead 13 to 0. They went for two on the extra point attempt, on which Aaron Patterson threw the ball to AJ Mooneyham who ran it in to extend the Tigers lead to 15-0.

Upperman got the ball and the Tiger defense made them work for it, but over the next ten plays quarterback Bailey Phillips put the ball in the hands of Ben Guffey, Austin Butler, Braydon Cowan and Cody Leckenby, and they made their way to the Tiger one-yard-line. Phillips then ran the ball in for the touchdown, but they failed to convert the extra point, bringing the score to 15-6, Tigers lead.

It was DeKalb’s turn then to fumble on the return, giving Upperman a chance to redeem themselves. On the seventh play, Phillips connected with Ben Guffey from DeKalb’s 23 to earn the Bees another six. A good extra point brought the score to 15-13.

It was now DeKalb’s turn to work extra hard for their next points, using eleven plays, the rest of the first quarter, and about three minutes of the second quarter to get the ball to the endzone. Combining several runs by Boss with a quarterback keeper and a pass to Aaron Patterson, Jennings and the Tigers made it to the Bees’ 26. A false start put the Tigers back at 31, but on the next play Jennings connected with Patterson in the end zone to extend the Tigers’ lead 22-13.

Connor Smith returned Matthew Poss’ kickoff 41 yards to start the Bees off with great field position at the Tiger 39. A Bailey Phillips run for 19 yards followed by one pass and a 16-yard quarterback keeper brought the Bees back into stinging range, 22-19. AJ Mooneyham blocked the extra point, keeping the Bees at 19.

A 27-yard return by Matthew Poss gave the Tigers’ possession at their own 47 for the next drive. The drive included a beautiful 48-yard pass to Patterson, that unfortunately was called back to the Upperman 15-yard line due to a block in the back penalty against DeKalb. A few plays later, Jennings ran the ball in for a touchdown from the one yard line, and a Matthew Poss extra point put the Tigers ahead 29-19 with just under 5 minutes left in the half.

Upperman was unable to convert on their next drive, and punted from their own 16, giving DeKalb the ball at the Tiger 40. It began well with a 15-yard pass to Dalton Halfmann, but that was followed by 3 incomplete passes. The Tigers’ attempted to convert on 4th down by faking the punt, but the pass from Patterson to Isaiah Jones went incomplete, and the ball belonged to Upperman again. Upperman gained one first down, but on the next play, Phillips’ pass to Ben Guffey was intercepted by Aaron Patterson. Four plays later, however, Jennings attempted to connect to Munoz, but it was picked off by the Bee defense. The play ended the half, or so everyone thought. A flag had been thrown against DeKalb for pass interference. Upperman declined the penalty and the players headed off the field. The band began to make its way onto the field for the halftime show, but to everyone’s surprise, the teams started heading back onto the field. The referees called for Upperman to have one play before the half since DeKalb had been penalized on the previous play. In what was most definitely a rare (if not unique) circumstance, Upperman snapped the ball with 0:00 on the clock (what you might call a “halftime play”), threw an incomplete pass, and the teams made their way off the field for the “real” halftime.

DeKalb’s first possession after halftime netted them a total of 21 yards, after which they had to punt. Upperman took over on their own 18-yard line, and marched slowly but steadily for ten plays to DeKalb’s 36-yard line. Phillips then hit Guffey for a 36-yard touchdown pass, but an unsportsmanlike conduct call against Upperman threw out the touchdown, moving the ball back to the 15-yard line. However, a late hit by DeKalb had to be penalized so that moved the ball half the distance to the goal. Phillips then ran the ball in on his own, but the extra point was again blocked by the Tiger defense, keeping the Bees at a “field goal safe” 4-point distance: 29-25.

Jennings began the next drive with a lovely 25-yard quarterback keeper, but three plays later made an inaccurate throw to Christian Pruitt that was picked off by Upperman’s Kendall Land. Upperman’s next drive extended into the 4th quarter. On 3rd and 9, a pass to Cody Leckenby combined with a personal foul against DeKalb to move the Bees to the Tiger 18 yard line. On the next play, Phillips ran the ball to the 6. A personal foul was called on Upperman on 1st and goal, putting the Bees back on the 19. They were unable to convert on the next three, and DeKalb took over from the 17-yard line.

DeKalb then had the ball for 9 plays including a gorgeous 34-yard pass to Munoz, but they were unable to get the next first down, turning the ball back over on downs to Upperman. On first down from their own 32, Phillips was taken down behind the line of scrimmage on a quarterback keeper for a loss of 2. On second down, two personal fouls were called against Upperman, setting them back to their own 8 yard line for a 3rd and 34. A pass to Austin Butler went incomplete, and on 4th down, the kicker fumbled the snap, recovered it, but was tackled in the endzone for a safety to move the Tigers ahead by two more, 31-25.

DeKalb would begin their drive from midfield, but Luke Boss fumbled on the first play, and the ball was picked up by Upperman. Four plays, later, though, Upperman’s Jake Middlebrook fumbled and the Tigers had the ball again. They moved it steadily from their own 30 to Upperman’s 39, Jennings was sacked 13 yards behind the line of scrimmage on 3rd and 21, making it 4th and 34. They punted and downed the ball, but a flag against Upperman for roughing the kicker gave DeKalb the ball again at Upperman’s 48. Jennings then ran the ball for one yard and 47 yards, scoring to put the Tigers 6 further ahead of Upperman, and Poss’s kick made it 38-25. Upperman was unable to score in the 57 seconds that were remaining, ending the game with DeKalb on top, 38-25.

Jennings ran the ball 15 times during the game for a total of 138 yards. He threw the ball about 27 times, at least 11 of which were complete for 184 yards (there may have been a couple more). The passing totals for the receivers were Jonathan Munoz (34 yards), Lane Ball (10 yards), Aaron Patterson (93 yards), Luke Boss (10 yards), Dalton Halfmann (11 yards), AJ Mooneyham (3 yards), Jacob Washer (11 yards), and Christian Pruitt (11 yards). In the rushing game, in addition to the 138 yards Jennings put up, Boss ran the ball 12 times for 33 yards, and Jacob Washer handled the ball once for 4 yards, bringing the rushing total to at least 175 yards.

The Tigers’ next game will be Friday night against Smith County at home, 7:00 pm.

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