By Daniel Brunty The Winston County Journal
In a rematch of last season’s opening game, the Noxapater Tigers squared off against the Ackerman Indians in non-division play this past Friday night.
Excitement was in the air as the two teams faced off for the second year in a row, with the Tigers looking to avenge last season’s loss. In what would be a defensive battle most of the game, the Tigers would not get their revenge as the Indians came out with a 12-0 victory over last season’s Class 1A State Champions.
The beginning of the game was rough for both teams, who were basically trying to feel each other out for most of the first half. The Indians returned the ball to their 41-yard line on the opening kickoff to have the first offensive possession of the game.
The Tigers would be on defense for the first series of play. The Indians proceeded to get some yardage early on the ground, but then switched to an air attack. The Tigers took advantage of this as outside linebacker intercepted a pass from Ackerman quarterback Dakota Brasher to give them possession.
The Tigers would take over and begin their first offensive series of the night. Leading the offensive attack for the Tigers was junior quarterback Tyrell Carter. The Ackerman defense would make a strong showing, however, and would force the Tigers to punt the ball back to the Indians. In their second offensive series, Ackerman would set the tone as they continued to rack up rushing yards on the Tigers’ defense. After gaining some ground, the Tigers defense would force a turnover on downs with only a few minutes left in the first quarter.
Also wanting to establish their running game, the Tigers begin to move the ball down the field after a few big runs from their running back Trey Baber to end the first quarter.
The second quarter began with the Tigers in scoring range. After a few run plays by Carter that was stopped short by the Ackerman defense, the Tigers would turn the ball back over to the Indians.
With a momentary stall in their running attack, the Indians began to put the ball in the air. After a few incomplete passes, the Indians would again turn the ball over on downs.
The Tigers would not have the ball long, as Carter was intercepted by Jamarcus Bradley with around eight minutes in the second quarter. On their next drive, the Indians’ offense would see some production as they went back to their ground game and moved the ball all the way down to the Tigers’ 10-yard line.
In position for the game’s first points, the Indians would not be able to convert as the Tigers’ Trevara Miller would force a fumble on the ball carrier and recover it to give the Tigers back possession with around three minutes left in the first half of play.
The Tigers, however, would not be able to produce any points on the turnover, as they went three and out and punted the ball back to the Indians.
With only a few minutes left in the quarter, the Indians would also find themselves stalled offensively, leaving the score tied at 0 going into halftime.
Noxapater would receive the ball on the opening drive of the second half. Still not able to get their offense going, the Tigers would again punt the ball back to the Indians.
The third quarter would be back and forth as both teams exchanged possessions with neither scoring.
The action would begin in the fourth quarter of the game, with the Indians with possession of the ball from the previous quarter. The first play of the quarter would see Brasher scramble for a huge gain to put the Indians in Tiger territory.
Ackerman would get the first score of the game a couple of plays later on a 26-yard touchdown pass around the 10 minute mark of the quarter. The Indians would go for a two-point conversion that was no good, making the score 6-0.
On their next possession, Noxapater would find themselves in the same situation they had been facing all night, not being able to get their offense going. They would be forced to punt the ball back to the Indians.
Feeling the confidence of scoring and getting their momentum going, the Indians would again start moving the ball on the Noxapater defense. With around seven minutes left in the quarter, Ackerman would score on a 24-yard touchdown pass to increase the Ackerman lead to 12-0. A failed two-point conversion by the Indians would leave the score 12-0.
The Tigers would not be able to score before the end of the quarter, and the Indians would go on to their first win of the season.
For the Tigers offense, Baber had 4 carries for 53 yards. Carter had 11 carries for 31 yards, and Keon Coburn had 4 carries for 15 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, Justin Robertson led the team with 11 tackles, followed by Miller with 10 tackles. Jacoby Lewis had 8 tackles. Baber had 7 tackles and one sack. David Parker and Coburn each had 7 tackles.
Up next for the Tigers will be a road game against the Class 2A Eupora Eagles this Friday. The Tigers last meeting with the Eagles was last season, with the Eagles defeating the Tigers 41-21. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. in Eupora.