FRIDAY NIGHT RECAP: Tribe defense withstands Generals’ marchPublished 6:30pm Wednesday, September 4, 2013
After last week’s jamboree slugfest, Tim Perry challenged his Indians to be more physical.
The Tribe answered, rebuking all but one of Lee’s advances toward the end zone en route to Friday’s season-opening 34-7 victory at Hohenberg Field.
“I thought we played well defensively,” said Perry. “We pursued the ball well and we were physical and that’s something I wanted to see after last week. I thought our defense came out and did a good job of that.”
It was actually the defense which gave the Indians their first lead of the night.
Lee’s quarterback rolled out and threw a pass right into the hands of senior linebacker Hunter Reese on a third-and-8 play.
Reese, gathering his grip on the unexpected gift, planted his foot at the 23 and sprinted into the end zone for the Wetumpka touchdown.
“I rolled back into coverage and looked right into the quarterback’s eyes,” said Reese. “He threw it right to me and it landed in my hands.”
The point after split the up rights and the Indians jumped ahead 7-0 with 8 minutes left in the opening stanza.
Wetumpka added a second touchdown with 18 seconds left in the first quarter.
The drive started at the Tribe’s 29 and senior tailback Charlie Crenshaw carried it to Lee’s 25. Monte Cross carried it to the 7, and then Crenshaw punched it in for the score.
“I’m proud of the coaches and their hard work,” said Perry. “I thought we had a great gameplan and the guys came out and played at a high level.
“I was disappointed that we didn’t finish our first couple of drives. We need to make sure we come away with point. But I like how we stayed focused and our tempo.”
Lee pulled to within six early in the second quarter only to see Wetumpka push the tally back to 13 on a fourth-and-goal pass from quarterback Sammy Britton to Crenshaw.
“This was a tough game,” said Britton. “But we executed and did what we knew we could do.”
Digmon added the point after and the Indians led 20-7 with 5:15 left before intermission.
“I know Coach Perry has a good football team, (OJ Jackson and Charlie Crenshaw) are very explosive,” said Tyrone Rogers, entering his second season as coach of the Generals. “Tonight they are the better team. They were able to run the ball, and we weren’t able to make tackles.”
Lee, now faced with an urgent need to throw the ball, hurled a pass downfield. Justin Connor, Indians defensive back, out-jumped the Generals wideout and came down with the interception. Wetumpka matriculated the ball downfield on a Jackson-led march.
After he was stood up on first down at the 15, Britton handed Crenshaw the ball on second down.
Crenshaw slipped a diving tackler and lunged for the end zone only to be marked down at the 1.
He was turned away on first-and-goal.
“We’ve got to continue to do the fundamental things right,” said Rogers.
Jackson wasn’t as he bullied his way across the goal line for the final score of the half.
The point after was good and the Tribe carried a 27-7 lead into the locker room.
“I liked our effort and intensity,” said Perry.
Lee thwarted the Tribe’s opening drive by intercepting a Britton pass at the one.
The defense, after a sack by Cameron Compton and a generous helping of black-and-gold pressure, handed the ball back to the Tribe’s offense courtesy of a fumble inside Lee’s red zone.
“I thought we played excellent,” said Compton, who had two sacks through a little more than three quarters of work. “We stuck to the game plan. We wanted to come out and be physical. And we were.”
Wetumpka’s final scoring drive took two plays.
Jackson carried it from the 11 to the 7 on first down and then from the 7 to the house on second down. Digmon’s final point after strike was solid and true and the Tribe’s lead swelled to 34-7, where it remained for the rest of the night.