Irwin dominates ATCO 28-0, advances to Elite 8

Ocilla– When Irwin and Atkinson met on Halloween night, the Indians escaped with a 21-14 win. Friday night, the Indians only led 7-0 at half and fans had to be thinking it would once again be a fourth quarter game in the Class A (Public) opening round at The Reservation in Ocilla.

But the Indians put that to rest; scoring 21 points in the third quarter to put Irwin (no. 2 seed) into the Elite Eight with a 28-0 win over the Rebels, seeded 15th. Robert Moore, from his fullback spot, bruised the Rebels on his way to a 111 yard night. Of those 111 yards, 78 came in the third quarter. His final touch came on a 13 yard touchdown with 2:27 remaining in the period. Moore rushed for 54 yards on three carries on the drive.

Moore got the opportunities when Jakyron Young, the Player of the Year on the recently named All-Region 2-A team, was held in check with only 53 yards on seven carries. Young did score two touchdowns, however. “Robert ran hard,” Irwin head coach Buddy Nobles said. “Our coaches did a great job making adjustments at halftime and our offensive line blocked well in the second half.”

The Indians needed Moore and those second half points as Irwin outgained Atkinson by a wide margin, 185-39; but the Indians fumbled three times – twice inside the 10 yard line. The third one may have been the game changer, however. Irwin took over with 5:49 left in the first half after a nice punt return by CartavionBenyard down to the Rebels’ 28-yard line. Ty Hogan ran for nine yards and Moore ran for 20 more down to the 10-yard line. On first and goal, the exchange on the snap was fumbled and picked up at the six by an ATCO player. It was returned by Tyus Wesley out to the 37-yard line, but he was stripped of the ball by Young and the Indians retained possession at the 37-yard line with a fresh set of downs.

Cully Jones runs hard after a catch in the second half. Photo: Danielle Bundrick/SGSN

Cully Jones runs hard after a catch in the second half. Photo: Danielle Bundrick/SGSN

Moore ran for eight and DJ Pollard rumbled down to the five on the next play. Young picked up the touchdown from five yards out and Austin Pettis’ extra point gave the Indians a 7-0 lead with 3:21 left in the half. Young scored with 7:48 left in the third on a 24-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 13-0. The final score came on a 20-yard run by Carionte Benyard with no time remaining on the third quarter clock.

The game was halted 15 minutes with 8:15 left in the contest, as ATCO’s Wesley was injured on a run play. The ambulance carried him off the field as he gestured toward the Rebels’ fans.

Nobles had high praise for ATCO coach Kip Hall and his players, as he addressed both teams at midfield after the contest. Besides Moore’s stellar night, Hogan had 69 yards on three carries, while Young ran for 53 yards on seven carries. The Indians rushed for 312 yards on 36 carries, while quarterback Zac Tolar threw for 46 yards on five completions – two to
Cully Jones for 28 yards. Irwin had 358 yards of total offense.

Atkinson was held to 109 yards on 54 snaps; Wesley had 47 yards on 12 carries and M’Calum Lanier rushed for 42 yards on 12 attempts. Quarterback Tyree Johnson was sacked six times by Irwin and finished with negative 14 yards on 17 rushes.  The Rebels (6-5) were held to 77 yards on 44 rushing attempts. Irwin (9-1-1) will host no. 10 seed Dooly County (8-3), a 29-18 winner over seventh seeded Claxton. Game time for Friday is set for 7:30 pm in Ocilla.


Kyle Dean is a former sports editor for The Tifton Gazette, and play by play man for WTIF-FM in Tifton. He covers high school sports for South Georgia Sports whenever he can. Follow him on twitter @deanofsports2.

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