Second half Indians do it again

OCILLA – The Irwin County football team waited 364 days to right a wrong.

You see, last year in the Class A (Public) semifinals, the Indians fell to Charlton County by one point in a game they felt was theirs for the taking. This year, Irwin took the field wanting to play in the Georgia Dome for all the marbles and the Indians will do just that on Friday, after a 28-7 win over No. 6 seed Commerce at The Reservation in Ocilla.

And while Buddy Nobles was not in the coaches’ box on the sidelines, he was at the game on December 6, 2013.

“Listen to me, I was here…I stood down there (in the endzone), I watched it (the final play), but I haven’t let the kids forget about it,” Nobles said. “We talked about it in June running sprints, lifting weights – in July…we talked about it this week. I am so proud of our kids, that’s the big thing.”

Penalties and poor field position kept the Indians (11-1-1) in check in the opening half of play. The Tigers (10-3) won the opening toss and took the football. Their option attack, led by fullback Will Thomas, quarterback Caleb Brooks and halfback Cole Chancey, pushed the ball down to Irwin’s 13 yard line. However, on the run to the 13, the Tigers were called for a hold. Then, Chancey was wrestled down for a two yard loss and Mykell Collier had a huge eight yard sack on Brooks back to the 33 yard line. J’varius Wood pinned the Indians down on their 1-yard line before one of the strangest sequences on a drive this scribe has ever seen.

On first and 10 from the one, Irwin was called for an illegal procedure, backing the ball up inside the 1. On the next play, Robert Moore was stopped for no gain. The next two plays were both false starts on the Indians and on the third snap, a Jakyron Young run for three yards also saw a flag for an illegal shift. With the ball on the 4, the Tigers declined setting up a third and 7. The Indians jumped again for their fourth accepted penalty of the drive and after a Moore one yard run, Irwin punted out to the 38 with 3:18 left in the first. Irwin had eight offensive penalties in the game; six in the first half.

Ty Hogan intercepts to end a Commerce as the First Half waned. Photo: Danielle Bundrick/SGSN

Ty Hogan intercepts to end a Commerce as the First Half waned. Photo: Danielle Bundrick/SGSN

Commerce would hit paydirt six plays later when Brooks went around right end for an 18-yard touchdown with under ten seconds to play in the quarter. The 3:18 drive featured Thomas, who ran for 13 yards on the drive. Andres Salgado’s PAT gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead.

Of Irwin’s four first half drives, only one crossed into Commerce territory – that one only to the Tiger 47 yard line, before yet another false start killed the drive. The Tigers lived in Indian territory in the first half, but Irwin’s defense continued their salty play, ending a drive on a three and out, on an interception by Ty Hogan, and finally the halftime gun. The Tigers ran twice as many plays as the Indians and led 104-41 in total offense.

But in the second half, the Indians had someone that Commerce did not…and that was Region 2-A Player of the Year, Jakyron Young. On the Indians’ first possession, and after an incomplete Zac Tolar pass, Young took a sweep and cut back for a 69-yard touchdown. Austin Pettis tied the game at seven just 20 seconds into the second half.

After a Commerce three and out, it was Young hitting another cutback lane, and he outran the Tiger defense for a 70-yard touchdown and just like that, after the Pettis PAT, Irwin led 14-7 with 8:10 left in the quarter. Commerce went back to work, marching from their 35 to the Indians’ 35 yard line, but the drive stalled when Robert Wilcox sacked Brooks for a loss on a fourth down pass attempt.

Irwin Head Coach Buddy Nobles encourages Jakyron  Young after Young tied the game with a 69 -yard TD run. Photo: Danielle Bundrick/SGSN

Irwin Head Coach Buddy Nobles encourages Jakyron Young after Young tied the game with a 69 -yard TD run. Photo: Danielle Bundrick/SGSN

The Indians’ best two drives perhaps came on their final two meaningful possessions. Moore, Tolar and D.J. Pollard got the Indians close and Young finished the 61 yard drive with a 30-yard touchdown run to put the Indians up by two scores. The drive went 11 plays and took 5:22 off the clock. The Indians then went 59 yards on nine plays in 4:44 when Young went in from nine yards out for his fourth touchdown of the night. Pollard had a 36 yard run early in the drive and when Young scored with 2:01 left in the game, fans knew they could go from The Reservation to making reservations for the Georgia Dome.

The best player on the field was Young, who rushed for 202 yards on 12 carries and four scores, while also playing on defense.

“I’ll tell you what, number one (Young) is a great player. Our offensive line did a great job too…staying on their blocks in the second half. We made a couple of adjustments at halftime, said we’re go right at ‘em, go on first sound, quit all that jumping (offsides),” Nobles said. “Our kids played awesome, our band, our fans…it’s just a great feeling. You have to take your hats off to coach (Michael) Brown and his kids from Commerce, I mean, what a great team.”

“But our defense played their rear ends off (Friday night). We bent a little bit, but we only gave up seven.” Commerce ended the night with 190 yards of offense, while Irwin had 313, 272 in the second half. Irwin will play in the Georgia Dome against No. 4 seed Hawkinsville. The Red Devils (12-1) upset region rival and defending state champion Marion County 15-13 to advance to the 1 p.m. game on Friday. It will be broadcast on statewide television (GPTV)  and also on local radio (WSIZ, 102.3).

 

Box Score- Team stats

IC                   CHS

Rush-yards  39-313         42-176

Comp.-att.-yds.  0-2-0            3-9-14

Total plays-yards  41-313         51-190

 

Individual stats

RUSHING: Irwin – Young 12-202 (4TD), Pollard 9-82, Tolar 8-15, Benyard 4-12, Moore 6-2; Commerce – Thomas 17-75, Brooks 14-61 (TD), Chancey 6-31, Mayberry 5-9.

PASSING: Irwin – Tolar 0-2, 0 yards; Commerce Chancey 3-5, 14 yards, INT, Brooks 0-2, 0 yards, INT; Wood 0-1, 0 yards.

RECEIVING: Irwin – none. Commerce – Wood 2-10, Flint 1-4.

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