It has been many years since Ethel last defeated Weir, and the Lions made sure it would stay that way last Friday night by defeating the Tigers 29-20 in what could have been the last contest between the two teams due to Choctaw County consolidation efforts.
The Tigers scored quickly when Antez Hopkins crossed the goal line from five yards out with 11:22 remaining in the first quarter.
Hopkins also punched in the two-point conversion to allow his Tigers to take an early 8-0 lead.
Less than three minutes later the Lions countered when Darius Brown scored from six yards to pull within two points of the Tiger lead.
Brown ran in the two-point conversion attempt as well tying things up, 8-8 with 8:29 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers got on the board once again when Bobby Potts ran a keeper in from one-yard out, PAT no good, to take a 14-8 lead with 5:32 left in the first quarter.
The Lions let the Tigers know that they were not gong away when Brown found pay dirt on a 10-yard run to tie things up at 14-14.
Tyler Martin kicked the PAT and the Lions now led 15-14 with 3:34 left in the first quarter.
The second quarter was more of a defensive struggle for both teams until Henson once again found the end zone when he bulled a keeper in from three yards, Martin kick, to take a 22-14 lead with 4:35 left in the half.
The Tigers were unable to answer and the Lions led 22-14 at the half.
The Lions had deferred to the second half, but with less than two minutes gone from the game clock, threw an interception that Markei Johnson returned 60 yards for a touchdown.
The PAT attempt was no good, but the Tigers had pulled within two of the Lions, 22-20 with 10:10 left in the third quarter.
Both teams struggled offensively throughout the remainder of the third quarter with Weir taking a 22-20 lead into the fourth.
The Lions controlled the clock for most of the fourth quarter before Henson was able to put the game away on another three-yard keeper, Martin kick, to take a 29-20 lead and the contest.
“I knew coming in that we would have to play with great effort throughout the night, and I think we were able to do that,” said Weir head coach Paul Courtney. “I was real proud of the guys and we’ve had a lot stacked against us this season. It feels so good––I feel so good for these guys because they’ve been through a lot and stuck together.”
Offensively the Lions were led by Henson who completed two of four passes for 13 yards and an interception while rushing the ball 15 teams for 63 yards.
Darius Brown had 102 yards on 18 carries while Willie Miller racked up another 96 yards on 16 carries while catching a one pass for 12 yards.
“We made a lot of mistakes in the second half, we had a pick-six, a fumble and a penalty deep in Tiger territory that kept us from scoring, but I was really proud of that last drive when we took it all the way down the field and won the football game,” added Courtney. The Tigers, after such a fast start, were not able to maintain momentum and had trouble stopping the run.
“We missed a bunch of opportunities and I thought we had some chances, but we just didn’t get the job done basically,” said Ethel head coach Paul A. Dees. “Weir played a great ballgame and we didn’t answer the challenge real well. They just ran the plays that we were not stopping––we knew about 80 percent of the time what they were doing but it all comes down to execution, and we didn’t execute on both sides of the ball.”
The Tigers are now 2-8 overall and 0-7 in region play and will travel to Sebastopol Friday night for a 7 p.m. contest, which will be their final game of the year.
The Lions, 2-7 overall and 1-5 in region play, will host West Lowndes Friday night in another Region 3-1A contest at 7 p.m.
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