The Darlington Tigers capped off senior night with a big win at home over Mt. Zion, racking up a 42-6 victory and capturing the subregion title.
Coach Tommy Atha said after the game that his team is playing their best football at the right time of the year.
“We felt like last year we plateaued toward the end of the year. One of our focuses has been to continue to improve each week and not peak too early,” he said. “I feel like we’re playing good football right now.”
“We still made a few mistakes but we corrected a lot of them.”
Darlington posted 28 points in the first quarter alone, capitalizing on big mistakes from the Eagles and 79 yards in penalties alone.
On offense, the Tigers put up 246 yards of total offense, including 212 yards on the ground on 32 carries. Quarterback Landon Rice completed 4 of 5 passes for 34 yards on the night, including one touchdown.
The Tigers were up 35-0 by the half, and added another score in the third quarter before giving some younger players a chance.
The Eagles scored on a four-yard run by quarterback T.J. Garrett midway through the fourth quarter with a running clock.
Jeremiah McClure — who also celebrated his birthday Friday — played a huge role on defense for the Tigers.
The senior snagged three interceptions on the night including one he returned for a touchdown.
“It was nerve wracking, I caught it and just looked out for my blockers the best I could,” said McClure after the game.
Will Mathis had an interception in the second half.
Atha said he couldn’t have been happier with the performances from both his offense and his defense.
“I thought we did a better job of attacking them this year where we should have,” he said. “They had a good scheme, and we prepared hard all week for it. The kids came out and made good plays.”
Darlington still has one last trip to make on the road before the Region 6-A title game on Nov. 8.
Next Friday, the Tigers travel to Our Lady of Mercy in Fairburn. The 3-5 Bobcats are coming off a 41-0 win over Mt. Vernon Presbyterian in their game this week.
Atha said that he and the Tigers won’t be looking past the Bobcats before their shot at the region title.
“It’s a very good football team from a very good region,” he said. “It’s going to be a battle.”