PREP FOOTBALL: Indians outlast Bulldogs
FORT WHITE – Trailing at halftime, the Indians entered the locker room frustrated, knowing they weren't playing their best in a high-stakes= regional game. Fort White didn't waste any time in the second half, asserting its dominance on Taylor County.
Fort White's defense shut down Taylor County's spread offense.The Indians forced three turnovers after halftime, keeping the Bulldogs scoreless in the second half, which helped Fort White cruise to a 27-12 win over Taylor County on Friday night.
"We just came out with more intensity," Fort White receiver/cornerback Derrick Roberson, who had the game-sealing interception, said of the second half. "And then we just got it together. We were struggling at first, but we got it together. We had to do what we had to do to win, even through the adversity."
Fort White (2-1, 1-0) avenged last year's loss to regional foe Taylor County (1-3, 0-1) by slowing down Bulldogs quarterback Robert Glanton, who was held to just 75 total yards in the second half. The tribe's stout defense not only contained Glanton, but more importantly, gave the offense opportunities and enough time to find a groove as the unit exploded for 21 unanswered points after intermission.
"We just talked about guys making plays," Fort White head coach Demetric Jackson said. "We felt good about our gameplan, but it really came down to guys making plays, and they did… We had opportunities in the first half when the defense had them stopped but [offense] just didn't make the plays… We just came out in the second half and made plays. And that's what I told them, I need some guys to make plays."
Fort White did just that with quarterback Dylan Blair leading the way. Blair tossed a touchdown and scored another on a goal-line keeper. The senior tallied 119 total yards in a performance that earned the transfer his first win at Arrowhead Stadium.
"When we came out of the locker room, we knew we had to show out," he said of the second half. "We wanted to win this game, and all we had to do was make the right plays…When we're clicking, I really don't think anyone can stop us."
Fort White was challenged though when Taylor County made a strong push to end the opening half. After Stanley Maxwell's first of two touchdowns, coming midway through the first quarter, Taylor County responded with a 2-yard score by Glanton.
The Indians relinquished momentum when the Bulldogs returned to the end zone on their next drive. Taylor County broke a tied game on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Glanton to Zoe Roberts, helping the Bulldogs to a slim advantage at the break.
Maxwell's longest run of the game came on a 40-yard touchdown early in the third.
The Indians never lost momentum again when Roberson blocked a punt minutes later and was recovered by Izaya Latham. Fort White capitalized on the turnover and capped off the short 11-yard scoring drive on a 1-yard punch by Blair. He was not done yet, either. His 6-yard touchdown pass to Rahman Paul at the end of the third gave the Indians a comfortable two-score lead and they never looked back.
Fort White's lights-out defense in the final period sealed the team's first regional win of the year. After back to back wins, the Indians look to keep the success up as the 4-game home-stretch continues with Bradford this coming week. Fort White hopes to pick up its third-straight victory against the reeling Tornadoes next Friday night.
"Enjoy this moment," Jackson told his team after the game. "But we teach them to go ahead [move on], and get on that film to see what Bradford does. So we can get back to work and get in that mindset of next team up."