2017-11-09 / Sports

Tigers put it together in game 10, beat Tattnall 27-25


COREY DANNER LED THE RUSHING ATTACK FOR THE TIGERS IN MACON The freshman scored two touchdowns and also had 32 yards receiving last Friday. COREY DANNER LED THE RUSHING ATTACK FOR THE TIGERS IN MACON The freshman scored two touchdowns and also had 32 yards receiving last Friday. The Washington-Wilkes Tigers just kept fighting and “playing hard” throughout the entire game until it finally paid off at the end when they caused a fumble in the backfield to deny Tattnall Square a two-point conversion which would most likely have sent the game into overtime.

But the game wasn’t really as close as all that. The Tigers also beat the Trojans in virtually all categories of statistics en route to racking up an impressive 400 yards of offense. A single turnover cost W-W an early touchdown which might have made for an easier road to victory but the Tigers stayed strong anyway.

When all was said and done, Washington-Wilkes emerged with a satisfying 27-25 win and the opportunity to host the first round of the state playoffs this Friday against Chattahoochee County’s Panthers.


MALIK HALL BLASTS THROUGH THE TROJAN LINE He ran for 78 yards on 14 carries and a TD against Tattnall Square. 
Photos by SPARKY NEWSOME MALIK HALL BLASTS THROUGH THE TROJAN LINE He ran for 78 yards on 14 carries and a TD against Tattnall Square. Photos by SPARKY NEWSOME The Tigers took their first possession deep in their own territory and marched with determination for 80 yards inside the Tattnall 10 yard-line where a touchdown looked practically guaranteed. But no ... a W-W pass fell into the hands of a Trojan in the end zone and the score remained at 0-0 throughout the first quarter.

Senior running back Malik Hall powered up the middle multiple times and led the Tigers to their first touchdown in the second quarter but the two-point conversion attempt failed. Tattnall broke a couple of long runs and scored shortly thereafter then also failed on the PAT attempt as the kick sailed sky high and wide.

Then freshman Corey Danner emerged for W-W and found the end zone on an 11-yard run. Donovan Anthony’s kick made it 13-6 which would hold up until halftime.


Calvin Wiggs (21) and others put a hurtin’ on Tattnall Square’s running back in last Friday’s 27-25 win in Macon. This Friday, the Tigers will host Chattahoochee County at 7:30 p.m. Calvin Wiggs (21) and others put a hurtin’ on Tattnall Square’s running back in last Friday’s 27-25 win in Macon. This Friday, the Tigers will host Chattahoochee County at 7:30 p.m. A scoreless third quarter kept the suspense high and the anxiety higher. But right at the end of the third, Tattnall ran a trick play double pass to the seven yard-line and scored on a pass to the end zone a couple of plays later. (And it looked mighty like that pass hit the ground before the receiver scooped it up.) That evened things up at 13-13 early in the fourth.

Still undaunted, Anthony and Deondre Lester connected on one of their long, down-the-right-sideline passes to the nine yard-line. From there, Anthony looked the other way and found Brock Jackson for a completion good for a TD.

Tattnall marched quickly to another touchdown but a failed PAT left them a point short at 20-19.

Then Danner, who had dazzled the crowd all night with his flashy and second-effort running, put together a couple of long runs, the last of which covered 57 yards for a touchdown widening the gap to eight points at 27-19. With only about a minute and a half left in the game, it was likely that the best Tattnall could expect was to tie the game with another touchdown and a two-point conversion.

They got the first part of that right with a touchdown but on the two-point conversion attempt (backed up due to a penalty), Devonta Owens got to the quarterback way behind the line and caused a fumble.

So, with just seconds left, the Trojans tried an on sides kick which was nicely handled by Zykier Hogan. Anthony took a knee when play resumed and the clock ran out with the final score 27-25.

“It’s the first time all year that I felt like we played hard on all phases for the entire ball game,” Head Coach Chad Alligood said, obviously pleased. “It took until week 10 for that to happen but I knew it would happen at some point. That’s the most proud of them I have been all year. They just kept playing. Things went good and things went bad, and right there at the end, the kids just kept playing hard.”

It was evident also in the stands where the visiting crowd joined in the enthusiasm and on the sidelines where members of Alligood’s former coaching team at Northside High School also noticed and commented that the Tigers played hard.

“I thought the energy was there the entire game,” Alligood continued. “That’s what I’ve tried to tell them – if you want to be great and you want to go deep in the playoffs. You’re fixing to play a bunch of games like that and you’ve got to learn how to play in those games.”

While at least some Tiger fans were deflated when the first drive ended with that interception, and expected to see things fall apart when that adversity crept up, many saw it in different light. Alligood was one of those.

“Whether we scored or not, we just took this thing 80 yards and they didn’t stop us – we stopped ourselves,” he observed. “So that’s a good positive to me. More than a few people told me they thought we might fold. But to me it’s a positive because we just went 80 yards, and it was our fault we didn’t score. It was nothing Tattnall did.”

Alligood further pointed out that for the entire season, there were very few times that opponents were responsible for stopping the Tiger offensive. “We have shot ourselves in the foot more than somebody just lining up and stopping us,” he said.

The entire Northside football coaching staff was at the ball game to support Alligood and to finally get to see his team play. Alligood said they called him Friday night and Saturday “and every one of them said, ‘Coach, you’ve got them playing hard.’ The one thing they noticed was that they just kept playing hard. That was good to hear and it says a lot about our kids and how we took a step closer to where we need to be.”

Danner, the freshman sensation, carried the ball 13 times for 164 yards and two touchdowns. But it was his hard running, breaking tackles, and second, even third efforts that were most impressive.

“I thought it was his best allaround game, not only running the ball, but blocking, and he made a couple of good catches,” Alligood said, adding that he should have made one more.

That one, when he was running across the field and the ball just didn’t stick for the reception, would surely have been a touchdown.

“If he’d held on to that one right there at the start of the second half, we might have put it out of reach then,” the coach said. “But he’s just a 14-year-old freshman and I thought he made some big plays for us. The one thing Corey does is that the first guy never tackles him. That’s what you want.”

Alligood was also vocal in his praise of the Tiger defensive coaches who did a good job of getting the team ready to play.

“We did some different things on defense we hadn’t done all year long and I give credit to Coach [Brian] Lewis and his staff for the game plan. We made Tattnall do some things like going into their bag of tricks because we took away their base plays that they really hurt us with the first time.”

In spite of giving up a couple of big runs, Alligood said it was one of the Tigers’ better games on defense.

The stops of those two two-point conversion attempts, especially the last one were perfect examples.

“It’s a great way to win a football game – stopping a two-point play – it just builds confidence in our guys,” Alligood said. “Coach Lewis, Coach [Terrence] Pendleton, Coach [Drew] Wilson, Coach [Dywane] Hampton, and Coach [Ramone] Nesbitt did a really good job getting the defense ready to play.”

Even though the game was actually the final game of the regular season, it felt more like a playoff game because there was so much at stake.

“Game 10, on the road, going into the playoffs, you want to be playing good,” Alligood said. “I think that was a good game to springboard us into the playoffs. We are battle-tested. When I look back at our schedule, we have played eight really good football teams. So I think we are good to go into the playoffs and we’ll just see how far we can go.”

That going first includes Chattahoochee County this Friday night at Tiger Stadium.

The Panthers are a running football team. They will throw it when they want to but not a whole lot, according to Alligood. And they run some option plays like the Tigers. They are quite athletic on defense.

We are similar to each other in a lot of ways,” Alligood reported. “This is the first good year they’ve had in a few so it ought to be a good game. I’m just glad it’s not us that’s going to be traveling four hours.”

Game time is 7:30 p.m. (Season ticket holders are reminded to pick up passes at the gate in order to be admitted to the reserved seating section. See separate items on page 8.)

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