Choctaw downs Tigers
By By Rocky Higginbotham/special to The Star
October 11, 2003
PHILADELPHIA There couldn't have been much more of a contrast between Southeast Lauderdale's four-wide air attack and Choctaw Central's grind-it-out offense Friday in their Region 5-3A matchup.
But here at a rain-soaked Choctaw Central homecoming Friday night, the host Warriors wound up three points better than their visitors from Lauderdale County.
Choctaw put together a 10-play scoring drive in the fourth quarter and then held off a Southeast rally, beating the Tigers 16-13 to climb back above the .500 mark.
Coats couldn't rest easy until Drew Harper's final pass of the night fell incomplete, dropping Southeast to 1-6 overall and 0-4 in league play.
For good reason. After Choctaw went up 16-7, Southeast got a 34-yard kickoff return from Raymond Ruffin and was back in business. Two leaping grabs by Alex West on passes from Harper put Southeast at the Warriors' 4, and Harper eventually scored on a 1-yard run with 3:23 still on the clock making it 16-13.
An unsportsmanlike conduct call on the Tigers pushed the PAT attempt back to a 35-yarder, which was blocked by Choctaw's Sean Ahshapanek, and the Warriors then recovered the Tigers' onside kick at the Southeast 48.
The Tigers got the ball back one last time at their own 5-yard line with 2:57 left after a 40-yard punt-and-roll by Choctaw's Shaun Jimmie.
The Southeast offense was anemic in the first quarter, managing just 8 total yards and no first downs as Choctaw managed a 3-0 lead on a 37-yard field goal by Neal Cotton.
But the Tigers got a 31-yard pass completion from Harper to Marcus Walker on the first play of the second half and were in business.
On a fourth-and-13, Harper found Walker again on a 25-yarder to the Choctaw 15, and the duo hooked up one more time in the right corner of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown. Harper's kick put the Tigers up 7-3 at the half.
Choctaw quickly won the field-position battle in the third quarter, and took advantage of a short field by taking it 36 yards in seven plays for the go-ahead score. After six straight runs including a big 15-yard burst by Dustin Wallace the Warriors scored on a play-action, 11-yard touchdown pass from Jimmie to Ahshapanek. Cotton's kick made it 10-7.
An interception by Choctaw's Eric Hickman killed another Southeast rally, as the Warriors took over on their own 26 with 9:46 left in the game. Wallace busted a 17-yarder on the next play, and Choctaw was on its way to a 10-play, 74-yard march that produced the eventual game-winning points.
Again, the Warriors banged it down the field with the run, but scored on a pass when Mitch Shumake got behind the Southeast defense and hauled in a 24-yard TD toss from Jimmie. A botched snap left the score 16-13.
Bracey Billie ran for a very tough 99 yards on 28 carries to lead Choctaw, while Wallace had 92 yards on 13 carries. Jimmie was just 3-of-8 passing, but threw for 71 yards and two scores.
The Southeast rushing game produced just 9 yards on 17 carries, but Walker caught five passes for 78 yards, West had four grabs for 46 yards and Chris Gordon three catches for 43 yards.
Choctaw Central goes to Raleigh next week, while Southeast is back at home against Morton.