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FOOTBALL: Model’s strong offensive, defensive effort tops Coosa

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Model @ Coosa High Football

Chris Dublin (25) of Model High School is tackled by Isaac Bradley (20) of Coosa High School, Dominique Billups (5) of Coosa High School and Judson Crawford (87) of Coosa High School during the game with Model High School at Coosa High School on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013. (Paul Halfacre/RN-T)

In a tight Region 7-AA contest that Model nearly let slip away, the Blue Devils used a balanced offensive attack and a powerful defensive front to run through the Coosa Eagles, 28-14.

Quarterback Cameron O’Neal threw four touchdown passes and the Blue Devils defense didn’t allow any semblance of a drive until they were up 21-0 late in the second quarter.

“I was proud of our offense because our defense has carried us a few games this year, so we owed one for the defense,” Model coach Gordon Powers said.

On their first two possessions, Model was met with virtually no resistance, as O’Neal found tight end Austin Gore for back-to-back touchdown strikes of 37 and 24 yards, respectively.

While Gore had two big catches in the first half, it was freshman running back Chris Dublin and his 202 yards on the ground that opened up the offense.

“(Dublin) runs the ball good, they come up and we throw it over them,” said O’Neal.

Coosa’s offense couldn’t find an answer for Model’s stout offensive attack through the first half. Until the last drive of the second quarter, they failed to put the Blue Devils on their heels, with drives capping off around midfield.

Quarterback Evan Simms found no room to work for much of the night, as defenders sprinted through his offensive line and forced off-balanced throws.

After Model went up 21-0 with 9:59 left in the second quarter, Simms and the Eagles offense drove the field, only to stall in the red zone.

An incompletion, a delay of game penalty and two short runs later, Coosa was forced to go for it on fourth down. Again the Blue Devil defense pushed Simms out of the pocket and toward the sideline as he threw the ball away.

Coming out of the half, Model was threatening to drive down the field again, before a penalty brought back a fake punt pass for a first down. The Blue Devils punted the ball to Coosa, only to force a three-and-out, eventually allowing the offense to take advantage yet again. They chewed up the clock with Dublin’s impressive runs, following it up with a 19-yard pass from O’Neal to wide receiver Austin Price, his second touchdown of the game.

On the ensuing kickoff, though, Coosa showed signs of life. Isaac Bradley took the return back 94 yards for the touchdown. The Eagles then forced a three-and-out, but still couldn’t find any offensive rhythm.

Coosa gained just four yards on two plays which included a holding penalty before Simms threw his lone interception of the night, giving control of the game back to Model.

The Blue Devils could only execute three plays before punting the ball back to Coosa and the Eagles finally got the big break they needed. Jacquez Brown broke through the line for a 64-yard touchdown run to bring the contest within two scores at 28-14.

With Model’s backs against the wall, Tyrece Dammond fumbled the ball at the 42 yard line, setting up the potential for a Coosa comeback. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they didn’t have enough left on this frigid evening, failing to convert a fourth-and-12 at the 27, giving the ball back to the Blue Devils with just under three minutes remaining.

For head coach Gordon Powers, it was another big win, as his squad stayed undefeated in the region. Powers, however, chooses not to let wins linger too long before thinking about the next matchup, with the region-rival Calhoun Yellow Jackets.

“We’re just riding the momentum,” said Powers after the big win. “I enjoyed the wins, but I’ll be on the bus thinking about how we match up with Calhoun.”

Model (7-1, 5-0) travels to play Calhoun next week in a meeting of teams with unblemished Region 7-AA records, while Coosa (4-4, 2-3) travels to Armuchee.