By Stan Beall
The Star Herald
The Ethel Tigers traveled to Crawford last Friday night to take on the East Oktibbeha Titans in 1A Region 3 action and lost a close one 33-24.
With close to six minutes left in the contest, the Tigers were up 24-19 and the Titans were facing fourth and long deep within Tiger territory.
The Titan quarterback found a seam within the Tiger defense and raced for what proved to be the decisive touchdown.
Ethel had the football with close to five minutes remaining in the contest down just 25-24 but could not sustain the drive, relinquishing possession to the Titans who scored a late touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
The Tigers and Titans were locked into a battle from the opening kick.
Scoring for the Tigers in the first half were Markei Johnson on a 24-yard touchdown reception and Antez Hopkins with a touchdown catch as well, both thrown by Bobby Potts.
East Oktibbeha led 19-12 at the half before Potts ran one in from nine yards out to pull the Tigers within one with 5:32 left in the third after a failed PAT.
The Tigers pulled ahead 24-12 in the fourth quarter after another touchdown and failed PAT with 9:49 remaining.
Ethel would not find the end zone again.
“We threw the ball really well and made some pretty good plays in the passing game by throwing for over 200 yards,” said Ethel head coach Paul A. Dees.
“Bobby (Potts) was under a lot of pressure all night, but was able to escape it and get off some pretty good passes. I think we missed some key opportunities with turnovers that really cost us the ballgame.”
The Tigers moved the ball really well all night, but turnovers killed a couple of key drives in the second half.
“We could have played, not necessarily harder, but a whole lot better as far as execution,” added Dees.
“It was the first time all year that I watched the film and actually got mad at the thing. We’ve got our work cut out for us this week. There’s no doubt – Noxapater is the defending 1A State Champion and they’re really good on defense and they have the best tailback in 1A football and probably just above that. We’ve got a big chore ahead of us.”
The Tigers are 2-3 on the year and 0-2 in region play.
Ethel hosts Noxapater this Friday at 7:30 p.m.