High School Football
Indians trio helps trump Tri-Cities
EAST POINT — On a Friday night where time stood still on the scoreboard at Tri-Cities, a three-of-a-kind from East Coweta trumped one by the Bulldogs’ Homecoming Night with a 28-19 victory. Indians senior Bryce Gemmel and Malik Robinson each contributed a pair of touchdowns runs and senior teammate Markel Boston came up with two key interceptions, the latter sealing East Coweta’s third consecutive win and second straight to open the Region 3-AAAAAA schedule.
Another close loss by the Bulldogs in region play left Tri-Cities winless at 0-6-1 and 0-2 despite putting a late scare into a Coweta County opponent for the second consecutive week.
Tri-Cities sophomore backup quarterback Jamauris Thornton threw three touchdown passes to receiver Shawntrez Davis, but three turnovers, including Boston’s final interception while stepping in front of another ball headed toward the lanky 6-foot-7 Bulldog junior with just over six minutes remaining after the Tri-Cities scoreboard had stopped functioning and East Coweta clinging to a 20-19 lead.
On the heels of a 14-7 victory over Westlake, the Indians scratched out another region win to set up a showdown of the two remaining unbeatens in 3-AAAAAA play next week when Langston Hughes travels to Garland Shoemake Stadium for East Coweta’s Homecoming.
The Panthers defeated Newnan 30-3 on Friday at home to improve to 6-1 and 2-0 in the region.
Gemmel’s 40-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter just moments after Boston’s final interception finally gave the Indians (4-3) breathing room after both teams stayed within one-point through two-plus periods. At the start of the second quarter, the East Coweta quarterback scored on a 12-yard keeper to cap a four-play, 31-yard drive that tied the game.
Behind the combination of Davis and Thornton, who connected in the fourth quarter of last Friday’s loss to Newnan for Tri-Cities’ only touchdown in a 14-9 loss, the Bulldogs grabbed a 7-0 lead after one quarter. A 75-yard scoring drive came after Indians kicker Cole Antley pushed a 47-yard field-goal attempt wide of the mark while trying to get on the scoreboard first.
Robinson, however, continued to give East Coweta’s rushing attack a lift while adding his fifth and sixth touchdowns of the season, the first of which gave the Indians a lead for good. The senior has now reached the endzone four times during the team’s three-game win streak.
A 1-yard plunge capped off East Coweta’s second touchdown of the second quarter in as many possessions. Boston’s first interception on an attempt by Thornton near the Tri-Cities 20 set up a five-play drive that got a boost from back-to-back Bulldogs penalties.
But a 14-7 lead wouldn’t hold until halftime as Thornton connected on four passes during a 13-play march to the Indians 20 before again finding his tallest receiver at the back of the end zone.
A missed extra-point by Bulldog kicker Alex Hernandez was the difference in a 14-13 East Coweta lead at halftime.
The Indians were able to add to it in the third quarter while catching a break early. Tri-Cities nearly converted on its opening drive of the second half when East Coweta’s defense bit on a short pass to Davis, who then turned and fired another pass downfield only to have it fall incomplete in front of another open Bulldog receiver.
A second touchdown from Robinson looked to have added breathing room with a 21-13 advantage heading into the fourth quarter only to have Davis slip past the East Coweta secondary for his third touchdown catch of the game.
A 21-19 lead held after the Indians snuffed out a two-point conversion attempt.
Time slowed through the closing 11 minutes, first as the Tri-Cities scoreboard froze and then as an East Coweta drive inside the Bulldogs 30-yard line was halted by an Indian fumble.
Down by two points, Tri-Cities quickly marched the opposite way and got the ball to the East Coweta 44 after Thornton scrambled to keep the drive alive on third-and-18. Shortly afterward, the sophomore again looked for Davis, only to have Boston step in front of the pass to give the Indians the ball back.
Following Gemmel’s final score for insurance, Tri-Cities coughed the ball up for a final time on a fumble by Thornton that was recovered by Indian linebacker Devonte Parker, allowing East Coweta to run out the clock.
Indians 28, Bulldogs 19
East Coweta 0 14 7 7 — 28
Tri-Cities 7 6 0 6 — 19
TC — Shawntrez Davis 8 pass from Jamauris Thornton(Alex Hernandez kick)
EC — Bryce Gemmel 12 run (Cole Antley kick)
EC — Malik Robinson 1 run (Antley kick)
TC — Davis 20 pass from Thornton (kick failed)
EC — Malik Robinson run (Antley kick)
TC — Davis pass from Thornton (2-point try failed)
EC — Gemmel 40 run (Antley Kick)