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FOOTBALL: Fourth-quarter surge gives Model Homecoming victory over Armuchee

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During the week, Model coach Gordon Powers and Armuchee coach Muhammad Abdellatif recounted memories of the teams’ rivalry, a game consistently filled with physicality and hard work.

Consider Friday night another chapter in those memorable battles.

After both defenses dominated for three quarters, Model’s running game broke through with two scores as the Blue Devils beat the Indians 21-7 in a Region 7-AA battle in Shannon Friday night. It is Model’s first win of the season, and one Powers felt was well earned.

“I think we finally deserved a win tonight,” Powers said. “Give credit to Armuchee. That team came out hard and Abdellatif has done a great job with them. But we’ve been working since that first scrimmage to get here, and they came to play tonight to earn the win.”

Model’s Kwalic Dublin finished with 105 total yards and a rushing touchdown for the final score of the game. Tailback A.J. Woods finished with 46 rushing yards and a touchdown and quarterback Jackson Couch had 48 passing yards and a rushing touchdown.

Armuchee (1-4, 0-2 7-AA) relied on the pass, with quarterback Brayden Perry going 17-of-33 for 205 yards and one interception. Tamalachi Lovelace tallied four catches for 98 yards, and Jacob Henderson had 39 total yards and a rushing touchdown.

While both offenses found some success, the majority of the game became a battle of field position. But the Blue Devils (1-4, 1-1), sticking to their run game, formed a 13-play drive ending in Couch’s 1-yard touchdown run to go up 14-7 with 7:45 left in the game.

Perry threw an interception to Model’s Oquavious Bullock the next drive, and the Blue Devils moved quickly after two Armuchee penalties gave them 30 yards. Dublin scored on a 1-yard run with less than two minutes to go for the final dagger.

“On offense, we just did whatever we had to do,” Dublin said. “We had to physically take them down, just keep giving it to them until they got weak and we could score.”

Model’s run game wasn’t flashy, but good enough to run between the tackles and pick up 5 or 6 yards. This was apparent on the game’s third drive when Model went 59 yards in 16 plays, converting two fourth downs on the way to a 6-yard touchdown run from Woods.

The Indians converted only one first down on their first four drives, but the defense stymied Model to keep it close. Just before halftime, Perry and the offense found its rhythm.

Perry completed two 26-yard passes and Henderson tied the game on a 5-yard touchdown with five seconds left in the half.

It was a clear indication of Armuchee’s improvement, with the Indians losing the last two years to Model by 35 and 29 points. It was the kind of effort that made the final result all the more difficult for Abdellatif and his team.

“I hate it for the boys. I just absolutely hate it for the boys,” Abdellatif said. “My heart hurts, because they played all night long and they just came up short. It just hurts man.”

Armuchee’s offense had some success in the first half, but its inability to develop a run game doomed the unit.

With Model able to secure the run with only six players, it could better defend the pass and make plays like Bullock’s interception.

“In games past we haven’t been able to shut down one aspect of the team,” Powers said. “But tonight give credit to our linebackers and line, they were essential with the way they stopped the run.”

Model travels to Lindale next Friday to take on Pepperell, while Armuchee makes the trip to Calhoun for a game against Gordon Central.