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FRIDAY NIGHT REWIND: Blue Devils putting up fight in early going

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Jabari Burge

Quarterback Jabari Burge and the Model Blue Devils are working on putting together four quarters after coming up short in the first two games of the season. / File-Steven Eckhoff

The Blue Devils started to rally on Friday against Sonoraville, but came up short against the Phoenix, 21-14.

In the season opener, Model erased a 14-point deficit to take a 25-21 lead over LaFayette with 7:28 left in the game, but the Ramblers retaliated on their next drive to secure the 28-25 win.

Records aren’t important to first-year Model coach Ricky Ross, however. He’s more concerned with if his team is playing to their absolute best potential.

“I think they’re playing hard and finding ways to give themselves a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter,” Ross said about his team. “Have we done that yet? Well, no, but we’re giving ourselves opportunities. I think that we’re playing hard, and we’re doing the right thing. We just have to keep pressing on.”

Against Sonoraville, Model was down by 21 until the Blue Devils got on the scoreboard in the third quarter on a 30-yard run by Kwalic Dublin. A 14-yard touchdown run by Luke Holtzendorf in the fourth quarter brought them within a touchdown with a 21-14 score, but the lead was too much to overcome. Dublin finished with 77 yards on 10 carries. Quarterback Jabari Burge was 4-for-7 for 72 yards.

“We played a half last night that is absolutely playing up to our potential, the way we want to play,” Ross said. “They learned a lesson that if we do that the whole night, you’ll be happy with the way you stand at the end of the night.”

Defense a plus for Coosa

The Coosa Eagles may have come away with a 21-6 loss against the visiting Darlington Tigers on Friday, but head coach Todd Wheeler was in no way disappointed with his team.

The Eagles made some big stops on defense, including an interception return for a touchdown by Gavin Hughes, which was the only time the Eagles made it to the end zone. The senior linebacker, who’s committed to play for Mercer, also led the Eagles’ defense with 20 tackles against the Tigers.

Coosa had some other big defensive stops when Terry Curry stripped the ball from Darlington’s Roth Wilcox about 10 yards from the end zone, saving a touchdown in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter, Tennessee commit Sean Brown recovered a Darlington fumble. Unfortunately for the Eagles, those two takeaways didn’t result in any points.

“We made a few mistakes we shouldn’t have made, but I credit our kids for fighting for 48 minutes,” Coosa coach Todd Wheeler said. “They fought, scratched and clawed. If we can just become more disciplined, we’re a dangerous football team in the future.”

E.J. Lackey rolling for Chattooga

Sophomore running back E.J. Lackey is quickly racking up yards on the ground for the Indians just two games into the season.

Lackey carried the Indians to big win Friday rushing for 238 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown run, on 37 carries in a 17-0 shutout against Wesleyan.

Lackey preceded that with a 166-yard effort and a touchdown on 12 carries during the Indians’ previous week’s 21-20 loss to Adairsville. Lackey will look to continue his success Friday when Chattooga hosts Heritage-Catoosa.