Devils Roll in 46-6 Rout

Tifton- Tift County took care of business Friday night with 46-6 win over the visiting Luella Lions in a game shortened to three quarters by lightning. The Blue Devils dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage scoring early and often against the AAAAA visitors from Locust Grove.

Behind a rapidly improving offensive line, Berry Bennett continued his scoring onslaught. The senior running back scored four more touchdowns rushing for 133 yards on just 11 carries. Bennett now has nine total touchdowns on the year with eight of those coming on the ground on just 32 carries.

The offensive line of seniors Daughtry Melton, Cody Tucker, and Kameron Fullmore, junior Nash Bragg and sophomore Andrew Self also held off a very talented Lions pass rush. While Luella delivered more than one blow to sophomore quarterback Griffin Collier, the lefty signal caller managed to throw for 127 yards on 7 of 14 passing.

Tift scored on the opening drive of the game. The Devils chewed up five minutes marching 74 yards on 16 plays. The key play was a fake punt for four yards on a fourth and 2 play from the Tift 45. Bennett scored from nine yards out one play after a 10-yard run gave the Devils a first and goal. The Lions’ first possession ended in a punt on fourth and 19. Just seconds later, Bennett ran 42 yards through a huge hole right up the middle for his second TD.

On Luella’s second possession, highly touted quarterback Will Thomas was intercepted by Eric Atkins on a third and 13 play. Atkins stepped in front of a short pass and raced untouched 16 yards for the “pick six.” The PAT was no good but the rout was on, 20-0 with four minutes left in the first quarter.

Roderick Gaines pounds ahead for the score. Photo: Shine Rankin Jr./SGSN

Rodrick Gaines pounds ahead for the score. Photo: Shine Rankin Jr./SGSN

The defense scored again early in the second quarter when junior linebacker Cody Thompson sacked Thomas in the end zone. The possession after the ensuing free kick resulted in another scoring drive for Tift. This one belonged to Rodrick Gaines. The senior running back caught a screen from Collier and rumbled 41 yards with it. He then carried the ball four consecutive times scoring from six yards out. Gaines finished with nine carries for 38 yards and two receptions for 50 more.

One snap later, junior Da’Won Barnes recovered a fumble on the Luella 48. A beautiful throw and catch from Collier to Fred Lloyd went for 33 yards and put the Devils on the goal line. From there Bennett punched it in from two yards out making the score 36-0. The Lions went nowhere on their next drive. The three and out and a short punt gave the Devils the ball on their own 40. Bennett wasted no time scoring on a 54-yard run putting Tift up 43-0 at the half.

The B-Team played the rest of the game for Tift. Quarterback Brant Watson and running back Deonte Calhoun combined for plenty of yards in the third quarter. They had 59 yards rushing between them but their only possession of the third quarter stalled on the 11 yard line. Fernando Ramirez converted the opportunity by hitting a 28-yard field goal to finish the scoring.

Luella put together a 14-play, 80-yard scoring drive that ate up the rest of the third quarter. Josh White scored from 12 yards out for Luella. Syracuse commit Darius Stubbs finished with 25 yards on 10 carries. White ran for 16 yards on 8 carries.

Tift rushed for 244 yards on 33 carries in three quarters of football. The Lions mustered only 65 on the ground and 19 through the air. Tift won the total yards battle 371-84. Luella got 60 of those yards on its last drive.

Tift will now host Baldwin next Friday night. Baldwin is 2-0 after a 27-0 win over Alcovy Friday night. Tift will play Alcovy in week five for homecoming.

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