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As the district season looms, Chiefland Indians are playing authoritative football, looking to build momentum with Friday's decisive 35-6 win over Taylor County (Perry).
"We executed real well tonight," Indians' head coach Ajay Ulmer said afterward. "We played more physical on defense. Like last week, we didn't allow them to get into a rhythm on offense because our defense played so good."
Again, the Indians' defense stiffed the opponent - Taylor's only score came on special teams, when Bulldog QB and kick returner Quentin Tucker took the kickoff from Chiefland's first quarter TD and ran it back 85 yards for a touchdown. Chiefland's defense was so stingy that the only time the Bulldogs even got into Indian territory, they had the help of a short kickoff that started them on their own 47-yard line.
The Indians scored early and often, with Stephen Davis carrying the ball home three times, including one interception returned for a touchdown. Davis had 16 carries for 81 yards on the night, and one catch for 24 yards. Zach Tyson and Dane Cothron carried in the other two scores, on runs of one and seven yards, respectively. Quarterback Brent Slaughter threw no touchdown passes Friday, but set up every score on 9 for 18 passing with 182 yards.
Zach Tyson scored first, stepping in as quarterback on a first and goal keeper play in the first quarter. Slaughter had brought the Indians to the brink of the goal line with a 19-yard completion to Donnell Sanders and one for 35 yards to Cantrell Richardson. When Slaughter stepped aside to let Tyson take the snap, the O-line opened such a gap for Tyson that he stepped through untouched. Garrett Schmidt's kick was good for the 7-0 advantage.
The edge from that PAT kick held extra importance over the next several minutes. Chiefland kicked off to TayCo and Tucker got under the ball for the touchdown return, making it 7-6. The 'Dogs lined up for a two-point conversion, but fumbled the ball. Tucker recovered it and tried to run, but was taken down by Tyson and Chase Horne, protecting the Indian lead.
Chiefland needed to stack the lead more, so when the first series of the second quarter slowed, they tried, unsuccessfully, to kick a field goal. On their next possession, however, Slaughter threw Tyson a 25-yard pass that got Chiefland into Taylor territory. Davis and Tommy Sheffield carried the ball down to the 10 yard line, and Davis ran it in, like Tyson, untouched. Schmidt's kick failed this time, but the Indians were on a roll. Following the kickoff, with the ball on the Bulldogs' 33, Davis intercepted a pass from Tucker and ran that back for a touchdown. Slaughter completed the two-point conversion pass to Richardson who was waiting in the left end zone. The Indians went to halftime up 21-6.
Chiefland's kickoff to start the second half was short, starting the 'Dogs off near midfield. A procedure penalty against Chiefland walked the 'Dogs in closer. Suddenly Taylor was down on the 14-yard line, threatening. Just in time, Chiefland's Alex English stuffed Tucker on the keeper and Jamantaye Thompson broke up a pass intended for Lavaski Williams. A hold moved TayCo back to the 24 and they tried, unsuccessfully, for a field goal.
The Indians loaded up again in the fourth quarter, starting with a drive that originated in the third quarter and ended with Davis, lunging through tacklers toward the goal line, stretching out his arm to break the plane of the end zone with the ball. With the extra point, Chiefland led 28-6.
Minutes later, after another unsuccessful field goal attempt, Tyson intercepted Tucker on the Taylor 23, setting up another drive for the Indians. Cothron carried the ball in easily from the 21 yard line, and Schmidt was money again for the point after, for 35-6.
"We knew they were a good football team, so we prepared well all week," Ulmer said. "I told the guys, 'We've got to play every game like our lives depend on it.' We're not in our district schedule yet, but we needed this game for momentum and attitude."
Chiefland travels to LaFayette County (Mayo) next week to confront the 4-0 Hornets.
"That's going to be a huge test for us," said Ulmer. "We've got to be able to play the pass, because they love to get the ball in the air to Jamal Reid. On the other hand, we can't just defend the passing game because they're a good enough running team to get it done that way, too."
Chiefland: Tyson 1 yard run, Schmidt kick
Taylor: Tucker 85 yard KO return
Chiefland: Davis, 10 yard run
Chiefland: Davis, 40 yard INT return; Slaughter pass to Richardson (2 pt)
Chiefland: Davis, 5 yard run, Schmidt kick
Chiefland: Cothron, 7 yard run, Schmidt kick
Tommy Sheffield, 10 carries, 26 yards
Jamantaye Thompson, 6 carries, 61 yards
Stephen Davis, 16 carries, 81 yards, 2 TD
Zach Tyson, 2 carries, 16 yards, 1 TD
Dane Cothron, 4 carries, 15 yards, 1 TD
Cantrell Richardson, 4 catches, 90 yards
Zach Tyson, 2 catches, 34 yards
Brent Slaughter, 9 for 18, 182 yards.
Chase Horne: 4 tackles
Zach Tyson, 3 tackles, 1 assist
Tommy Sheffield, 3 tackles, 3 assists
Chance Hall, 3 tackles, 3 assists
Stephen Davis, 1, 28 yards returned
Josh Wasson, 1
Zach Tyson, 1, 12 yards returned