Malakoff defeats Jefferson, faces Pottsboro in Regional semis
GLADEWATER–The Malakoff Tigers topped the Jefferson Bulldogs in the Area round of the playoffs Nov. 21 at Jack V. Murphy Bear Stadium in Gladewater.
The Tigers topped the Bulldogs 31-21 in the Regional semifinals in 2018 on their way to a State championship appearance. Malakoff hoped that Jefferson was just another step on their way to a State title run Thursday night.
The Bulldogs wouldn’t go quietly as they opened with a 62-yard touchdown pass in the first minute of the game to take an early 7-0 lead over the Tigers.
The Tigers went to work on their first drive of the game as they marched their way down to the Jefferson 27-yard line. Darion Peace then connected on a 27-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Andreas Garrett to tie the game 7-7 halfway through the first quarter.
The Bulldogs scored almost immediately as they took the kickoff from their own 34-yard line. Jefferson’s Kylan Thomas then took the ball 66 yards for the touchdown as the Bulldogs regained a 14-7 lead.
Multiple runs from Peace, Garrett and Keevie Rose set the Tigers up inside the Jefferson 20-yard line.
Dedric Davis broke through the Jefferson defense as he picked up a 15-yard rushing touchdown to tie the game 14-14 in the final minute of the first quarter.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring in the second quarter as Dee Black took the ball in from the one-yard line to put Jefferson back in front 21-14.
Malakoff put their running game to use against the Jefferson defense as they marched their way back into Bulldogs’ territory. Dedric Davis capped off a 75-yard drive with an 18-yard rushing touchdown to knot the score, 21-21.
With around a minute to go in the first half, the Malakoff defense came up with a big stop on their own 36-yard line as Jefferson turned the ball over on downs.
After consecutive throws to Davis, Nathan Jones and Riggin Smith, the Tigers were set up on the Jefferson five-yard line in the final minute of the second quarter.
Peace converted on a five-yard run to put Malakoff in front for the first time, 27-21 after a failed two-point conversion as the Tigers took their first lead into halftime.
With Malakoff receiving the kickoff for the second half, the Tigers’ offense went to work. Their drive ended with a long 41-yard touchdown pass to Smith to increase Malakoff’s lead to 33-21 after another failed two-point conversion.
After Malakoff made a tackle for a loss, Jefferson completed a 66-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 33-27 after a missed point after attempt.
Malakoff recovered as they completed a 79-yard drive with a six-yard rushing touchdown courtesy of Cabien Trimble to make it 41-27 in favor of the Tigers after Peace made a successful pass to Davis on the two-point conversion.
Jefferson scored on a two-yard rushing touchdown in the first minute of the fourth quarter to trim the Malakoff lead to 41-34.
After a Jefferson stop on third down, the Tigers attempted a field goal from the Bulldogs’ 20-yard line but were unsuccessful as they turned the ball over on downs.
Jefferson took advantage as they scored on a 51-yard rushing touchdown to tie the game 41-41 with just over eight minutes remaining in regulation.
After a run from Peace set the Tigers up on the 46-yard line, Davis broke through for a 40-yard gain to put Malakoff on Jefferson’s six-yard line.
Davis ended the drive with a five-yard rushing touchdown to put Malakoff back in front 47-41.
A pass interference penalty against Malakoff put Jefferson in Tigers’ territory.
Needing a big stop late, the Tigers forced a turnover on downs at their own 40-yard line.
Rose put the game away with a 60-yard rushing touchdown with two minutes remaining in the game as the Tigers clinched the Area title with a 53-41 victory over the Bulldogs.
The win clinches the second straight Area championship for Malakoff, putting them at 11-1 overall in 2019.
Malakoff will have their toughest test yet as they take on the Pottsboro Cardinals (12-0) as they look to hand them their first loss of the season in the Regional semifinals. The Tigers will take on the Cardinals Friday, Nov. 29 with kickoff set for 2 p.m. at Wylie Pirate Stadium.