Irwin defense forces five turnovers in 40-29 win

OCILLA – In a night where No. 2 seed Irwin struggled offensively for a majority of the first half, it was the Indians’ defense that brought them through in a 40-29 Class A (Public) quarterfinal game at The Reservation in Ocilla.

Ty Hogan scores from 14 yards out. Hogan Had a rushing TD and an interception on the evening. Photo: Danielle Bundrick/SGSN

Ty Hogan scores from 14 yards out. Hogan Had a rushing TD and an interception on the evening. Photo: Danielle Bundrick/SGSN

The No. 10 seed Bobcats from Vienna (8-4) outgained Irwin 105-87 in total yardage, but Irwin led 6-0 at the half behind two interceptions from Dooly. After the second interception by Jakyron Young with 8:26 remaining in the half, the Indians (10-1-1) went on an 8-play, 68 yard drive that covered nearly seven minutes off the clock. The drive was capped by a 2-yard run by Young, but Irwin’s extra point was no good.
The Bobcats used a big kick return down to the Indian 33 yard line and four plays later, Dooly used a pass play down to the Irwin 19. But the drive would stall at the 13 yard line, when Jordan Miles was tackled inbounds. The Bobcats had no more timeouts, and the first half horn went off with Irwin leading 6-0.

Dooly took a 7-6 lead, driving the ball on a short field after a second half onside kick from Irwin.Miles’ 27-yard run capped off the four play drive and after an Isai Cornejo extra point, Dooly led 7-6. The lead would not last long for the Bobcats, however, as the Indians stormed right back down the field on the ensuing possession. Young returned the kickoff 23 yards and Robert Moore rushed for 42 yards on the drive. The Indians were faced with a 4th-and-4 situation at the Bobcats’ 12-yard line. Irwin head coach Buddy Nobles rolled the dice and called a reverse to Young and the Indians executed to perfection around left end. The two point play was no good, but the Indians led 12-7 with 7:35 left in the third quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, John Clayton returned it down to the Irwin 34. Four plays later, on 4th down, the snap went past Miles, who was not ready for the play to begin. His running back, Keyon Webb, picked the ball up and tried to heave the pigskin down the middle of the field, but it was intercepted by Ty Hogan. The Indians then went 66 yards on eight plays, with quarterback Zac Tolar rushing in to give Irwin a 20-7 lead after the two point conversion with 3:48 left in the quarter. Another promising drive for the Bobcats ended horribly, when Miles’ pass down the middle was intercepted by DJ Pollard at the 28 yard line and returned all the way down to the Dooly 4-yard line. A penalty backed the Indians up to the 19, but four plays later, Hogan took on a defender, bounced off and bolted in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown with 9:56 remaining in the game. The Indians led 26-7.

Any hopes for a Bobcat comeback were put to rest, when the Indians recovered the ensuing kickoff. Austin Pettis kicked it simply where no Dooly player was standing and Irwin marched down the field two plays later on a Robert Moore four yard power rush. The Indians had a commanding 33-7 lead with 9:00 to play. Dooly scored on a Miles to Kendall Kellogg pass; then Irwin’s Tolar scored his second rushing touchdown of the night – a 15-yarder with just over 5:00 to play to give Irwin a 40-13 lead. The Bobcats would add two scores after that against mostly Irwin reserves. One came on a Lenorris Turner 75-yard kickoff return and the other on a Jerome Presley run with under ten seconds in the contest.

Three Bobcat passers were intercepted four times by Irwin. Besides Pollard, Young and Hogan, Cheveka Hardy added a first quarter pick for the Indians. Irwin had 328 rushing yards and ten passing yards for 338 total. Of those 328 rushing yards, 251 came in the second half. Moore led all rushers with 21 carries for 128 yards. Young added 73, while Hogan and Pollard added 61 and 55, respectfully. Dooly ended the game with 276 total yards, 164 on the ground. Miles led the Bobcats in his final game for Jimmy Hughes’ team with 14 carries for 60 yards. He was sacked four times for a loss of 22 yards.

The Indians will return to The Reservation for a Class A (Public) semifinal matchup against Commerce, 10-0 winners over Calhoun County. The Tigers are 10-2 under head coach Michael Brown. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. in Ocilla.

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