By David D. Goodwin
WETUMPKA — It wasn’t an inspiring night on offense Friday night against Chilton County, but the Indians defense stepped up to earn the 21-7 homecoming win.
Wetumpka had five first-half sacks in a stifling performance. Young quarterback Nate Rodgers rushed for a touchdown and senior Stone Minnifield added a third-quarter score, but it was an uneven night on offense, head coach Tim Perry said.
“We had a lot of frustration on offense, not being able to execute and move the chains in the second half,” Perry said. “It put the defense in some bad situations, and they rose up and responded.”
Wetumpka’s defense got the scoring started after a pair of brief offensive drives. As Tigers quarterback Cannon Miller dropped back to pass, a gang of Indians defenders led by senior Dylan Price crashed down on him, dislodging the ball. Senior defensive end Imarius Roberts took advantage by scooping the ball and rumbling almost 50 yards for the touchdown.
After another 3-and-out by the Tigers, including a sack by junior R.J. Harris, Rodgers took matters into his own hands, faking the handoff and streaking 33-yards in the middle of the field for a touchdown.
Another big sack — this time by junior Davin Lee — doomed the ensuing drive by Chilton County. But a fumble on the punt reception gave the Tigers the ball back inside the Wetumpka 20. Again the Indians defense stood tall. Price sacked Miller for a 14-yard loss and the secondary shut down any chance to erase the loss through the air. The Tigers kicker Jorge Castillo couldn’t make the 27-yard field goal attempt, and the Indians survived the special teams miscue.
Coming out of the locker room, Miller completed a pass, but senior safety Avery Thomas knocked the ball free. He would take the fumble to the endzone, but a penalty brought it back.
Minnifield closed out the laborious 28-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown.
Chilton County’s Jakereon Bolding managed a 3-yard touchdown late in the game, but offensive fireworks were hard to find in the second half.
“(The defense) bailed us out tonight,” Perry said. “We didn’t execute, and that’s on me, and give credit to Chilton County for coming at us. But our defense was spectacular even though we put them in some bad positions with a short field.”
Rodgers finished the night with 12-of-16 passing for 106 yards and one interception. He carried the ball eight times for 48 yards and a touchdown.
Wetumpka got back to .500, 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the region with just a trip to Calera and a grudge match against Stanhope Elmore left on the schedule.
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