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Philly blows past Kemper

By By Rocky Higginbotham / special to The Star
Oct. 31, 2003
PHILADELPHIA On their way to the Region 5-2A title, the Philadelphia Tornadoes relied on a stingy defense and an opportunistic offense that often scored just enough to beat the opposing team.
Thursday night, in their regular-season finale, the Tornadoes didn't just pick up their level of play enough to win they kicked it into overdrive.
Homestanding Philly, after having its lead cut to one touchdown midway through the third quarter, scored 21 unanswered points and thumped Kemper County 37-12.
The win completed a clean sweep through the region for Philly, which improved to 8-2 overall and 5-0 in the league.
Philly will be at home next week to host a yet-to-be determined opponent in the opening round of the Class 2A playoffs. Kemper, which fell to 2-8 overall and 2-2 in the league, can still make the postseason if Newton beats Clarkdale and Lake tops Williams-Sullivan tonight.
The Wildcats were down 14-0 at halftime, but trimmed Philly's lead to 14-6 on a spectacular 34-yard touchdown run by freshman Derek Welch with 5:24 left in the third quarter. That score seemed to swing the momentum in the direction of Kemper, but 6 minutes later, Philly was up 30-6.
After Welch's scoring jaunt Philadelphia was forced to punt, but pinned Kemper at its own 7. Two plays later, Anthony Gray recovered a fumble at the Wildcats' 7, and Desmond Murray ran it in from there on the next play. Porter Jordan's kick made it 21-6 with 1:33 on the clock.
Then, with just 18 seconds remaining in the third period, two Kemper backs collided in the end zone and were brought down by Gray and James Seales for a safety.
That made it 23-6, and Chris Warren took the free-kick punt by Kemper and returned it all the way to the Wildcats' 3-yard line on the next-to-last play of the period.
On the first play of the fourth, Warren scored from 3 yards out, and Jordan's kick made it 30-6.
Philadelphia's final touchdown came with 7:17 remaining, when freshman Tuntdrick Burnside went untouched for a 21-yard score.
After Kemper fumbled inside the Philly 10 with 3:39 left, the Wildcats finally got one last score on the board on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Green to Kevin Rush with 2:12 remaining.
Philly built a 14-0 lead in the first half thanks to a 3-yard run by Talmer Burnside on a fourth-and-goal at the 8:12 mark of the first quarter; and a 10-yard TD run by Murray on a fourth-and-2 play with 9:29 on the second-quarter clock.
Philadelphia out-gained Kemper 261-209 in total yardage, with Murray's 74 yards on 17 carries leading the way. Talmer Burnside had 52 yards on 11 carries and Jordan was 3-of-7 passing for 58 yards with Jarod Boler catching two passes for 44 yards.
Welch led all ball carriers with 95 yards on 11 carries, with 85 of those yards coming in the second half. Green ran eight times for 36 yards and was 3-of-5 passing for 79 yards. Rush caught two of those for 77 yards.
Jamaal Peebles led Philly's defense with nine tackles, three of them for a loss, and a fumble recovery.