2017-09-14 / Sports

Tigers give Warriors a run, set two school records

By SPARKY NEWSOME
editor and publisher


DEONDRE LESTER MAKES THE CATCH He set a new Tiger record with 216 yards and two touchdowns. 
Photo by MERCER HARRIS DEONDRE LESTER MAKES THE CATCH He set a new Tiger record with 216 yards and two touchdowns. Photo by MERCER HARRIS If you didn’t look at the scoreboard, you might not have realized that the Washington-Wilkes Tigers came up short 43-32 last Friday night. What’s more, the Jefferson County Warriors might not have been so sure themselves that they won the game. Even though in the end there was an 11-point discrepancy, it was a one-touchdown game. The trouble was that Jefferson County made all its PATs, including a two-pointer, and the Tigers made only one two-point conversion.

And who cares if “statistics are for losers,” as the old saying goes, W-W had more total offense than Jefferson County, a better yardsper play average, kept the Warriors wondering where the heck these guys came from, and set two all-time W-W records in the process.

Tiger Head Coach Chad Alligood was in disbelief of himself when he realized the turn the game took. But when it became apparent that a passing approach provided W-W with its best chance, the Tigers went to the air.

“I know one thing that’s different for me is that I’ve never thrown the ball 39 times in a game,” Alligood said. That stat broke the previous record for passes in a game (38) set in 1972 by Henry Darby. “We had to,” Alligood continued, “and I told them before the game that we were going to do whatever it takes for us to win ball games. We have the capability, with the athletes we have on offense, to make sure that we have a chance.”

Two of those capable athletes, along with their teammates of course, were responsible for the two records set in the game. Donovan Anthony, the quarterback who threw the passes, and receiver Deondre Lester, who reached up and grabbed seven passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns. Lester broke Kent Harrisons record of 187 yards, set in 1976.

“Deondre is a special player,” Alligood observed. “He’s as humble as they come and it doesn’t bother him if he doesn’t touch the ball in a game or if he touches it 10 times. He just wants to do whatever we need to do to be successful. That’s what I like about him.” Another good thing about Lester is that he’s just a junior and should be back next year too.

Of his quarterback, the coach said, “Donovan did a good job of not getting down on himself and he just kept playing. We had a couple of big overthrows early that could have been big plays, but he just kept playing and that shows his maturity.” Anthony, a sophomore, is just three games into his career and has gotten better each week, according to Alligood. “Mentally, I think it was his best game because he did not get down on himself, he just kept playing,” he said.

The Tigers struck hard and early with Lester taking the first play from scrimmage about 70 yards to set up the first W-W touchdown by freshman Cory Danner who carried it in from 13 yards out. And the first quarter was still less than halfway gone when Anthony connected with Lester for a 38-yard scoring strike. Unfortunately, both PAT kick attempts failed.

Some long passes just missed completion and more than one opportunity for the Tigers to take a three-touchdown lead. And moving close to halftime, Jefferson County scored three touchdowns, added two kicks and a two-pointer, and took the lead, 22-12. But as time ticked away, Anthony found Danner for 43 yards and a spectacular catch to close the gap to 22-18 with just 18 seconds left before intermission.

The third quarter belonged to the Warriors as they scored twice and carried the offensive momentum through most of the fourth quarter for 21 unanswered points.

But still undauted, the Tigers rallied as Malik Hall scored on a three-yard run capped by a twopoint conversion pass from Anthony to Brock Jackson. The determined W-W defense followed and shut Jefferson down to give the Tiger O another chance. Once again, it was Anthony-to-Lester, this time for 74 yards and a touchdown as time ran out. Final score 43-32.

“We took a top ten team in AA and went blow-for-blow with them,” Alligood said. “They just made a few more plays than we did, but we had our opportunities. I was proud of them for that.”

The coach admitted that he was

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