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Tigers declaw Panthers on Homecoming

Story and Photos by Brian Tannehill | Director of Photography

ECLECTIC – The Dadeville Tigers came out roaring against Elmore County High defeating the Panthers on homecoming night 47–7. 

The first Tiger score started with a 60 yard punt return by Phil Dowdell at 7:57 in the first. The Tigers scored two more times from 63 yards and 9 yards out to go up 21–0 in the first. Ja’Vuntae Holley rushed for 63 yards for a touchdown, and Christian Nelson walked in from 9 to cap the scoring plays in the first for the tigers.

“Both running backs (Holley and Nelson) are returning seniors and starters” said Dadeville coach Rog Mcdonald, “and we knew they would run hard.”

Flipping the field but not the momentum for the second quarter, Dadeville scored twice to take a 35-0 lead into the half. Both Tiger running backs had their numbers called again with Nelson scampering 47 yards, and Holley punching it in from 3.  

Elmore county wasn’t clicking on offense as they had one interception and fumbled away a possession. Both teams had the ball for a similar number of plays with Dadeville running 47 plays to the Panthers 41, though Dadeville doubled the Panthers time of possession at 31 mins to ECHS’s 16.

Dadeville had six running backs touch the ball throughout the night to amass 393 total yards of offense. They attempted two passes but failed to connect on either. Holley finished the night with 171 yards rushing on 16 touches, and Nelson added 103 yards on 11 touches.

Dadeville running back Ja’Vuntae Holley crossed the end zone for a third time in the third quarter to go up 41 to 0, and Freshman Jay Burns ran 54 yards to take the lead to 47 in the fourth.

“We’ve got some things to work on” said Mcdonald, “I thought they did a good job, and we’re proud of the kids, they played hard.”

Late in the fourth, Panthers signal caller – and all-around utility player – Payton Stephenson was able to lead his team down the field to a score, connecting with Jabari Murphy on a 14-yard pass. Stephenson finished the night 4-of-17 for 46 yards and one passing touchdown along with 37 Yards rushing, 4 punts totaling 154 yards, and 5 kick off returns for 91 yards. 

Murphy had 3 receptions for 43 yards and one score and then carried the ball seven times out of the backfield for 32 yards. Zay Robinson reeled in a catch for three yards. CJ Wilkes rushed 9 times for 25 yards. The Panthers totaled 140 yards on offense. 

Region play kicks off next week and both the Panthers and the Tigers are in for another Friday night fight. Elmore County travels to rival Holtville next, while Dadeville returns home to host unbeaten Montgomery Catholic. 

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