High School Football
Defense comes up big again for Indians in win
Big defensive plays have now lifted the East Coweta High School football team to two straight wins, and the team's coach couldn't be happier.
The Indians survived a hard-fought defensive battle at home Friday with a 14-7 victory over Westlake at Garland Shoemake Stadium to begin the Region 3-AAAAAA schedule.
It ended with the Lions driving deep in Indian territory with under three minutes left in the game and the East Coweta defense needing to make a final stand.
The Indians did just that by coming up with two consecutive sacks of Westlake quarterback Demetrius Beverly, first pushing them backwards on a first and 21 and then again to force the Lions into a third and 41 situation.
One play later, the Lions were forced to punt. The stand sealed the 14-7 victory for the Indians.
'It was real close,' Indians head coach Clint Wade said. 'You get your money's worth, that's for sure. I'm proud of our kids. They stood the test. We made a lot of mistakes; we were our own worst enemy. We kept playing real hard, believing in what we were doing and made some plays when we had to.'
The Indians (3-3) now take a 1-0 region record into next week's 3-AAAAAA game at Tri-Cities.
'Our defense rose up and played,' Wade said. 'I'll tell you I'm proud of them. They are playing hard and doing the best they can with the ability they have. Those were big sacks. We finally got a little pass rush going and we got loose a couple of times and got their quarterback on the ground. That was huge getting those sacks.'
The Lions scored their only points of the game on their first possession. They stopped the Indians' opening drive after just four plays. A good punt by East Coweta's Cole Antley set them up at their own 9-yard line. From there the drive took 7:39 and lasted 13 plays, 11 of which were on the ground. Beverly connected with Jamauri Elliott for a 37-yard touchdown pass with 3:16 to play in the first quarter.
East Coweta's only first-half score came with just one minute remaining. The Indians' drive started with 6:55 on the second-quarter clock and lasted 11 plays. The drive was nearly snuffed quickly.
However, when faced with a third and 9 from their own 25, quarterback Bryce Gemmel connected with E.J. Ransom, who was Gemmel's favorite target on the night, for 22 yards. Two plays later, Gemmel hooked up with Ransom again, this time for a 13-yard gain that brought the ball to the Westlake 39.
The Indians took it on the ground from there. A big 13-yard gain by Malik Robinson and a pair of keepers by Gemmel brought the Indians to the 14. On third and 9, Gemmel came through again, finding Markell Boston for a 14-yard touchdown pass and a 7-7 tie at the half.
The Lions were able to dominate the time of possession and control the clock with their running attack in the first half.
'We made adjustments at halftime,' Wade said. 'Just check it down, cover your gap and take care of your responsibility and it will come right to you. That's what happened.'
The Indians scored the final points of the game on their second drive of the third quarter. They started at the Westlake 41, and Gemmel wasted little time in finding his go-to guy, Ransom, for a quick 9-yard gain.
Two plays and no gain later, Gemmel found Ransom again for 12 more yards to the 19. A pass interference penalty on the next play brought the ball to the 9.
Gemmel picked up the first down with a short run. On first and goal from the 8, Malik Robinson capped the scoring with an 8-yard run to the end zone.