By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN
MINEOLA — The Malakoff Tigers ran through No. 7 Jefferson, 31-21, in area round playoff action Friday afternoon.
The Tigers controlled the clock with a power running game that kept Jefferson’s offense on the sidelines.
The win improves Malakoff’s record to 9-2. Next up for the Tigers is Gladewater with the time and location to be determined.
Here are my 10 observations from the day after Thanksgiving.
— Malakoff’s game plan was obvious to everyone in the stadium. The Tigers came in wanting to be physical, run between the tackles and impose their will on the Bulldogs and that is exactly what they did. It was a “four yards and a cloud of dust” stategy for which Jefferson had no answer.
— Keevie Rose was the focal point of Malakoff’s attack and the junior should have no trouble sleeping tonight. He carried 38 times for 127 yards and a touchdown, according to my unofficial stats. Rose ran down hill all game long, punishing the Bulldogs.
— Speaking of punishment, can we get a hand for the big guys up front. The Malakoff offensive line dominated this game. Kyler Dalrymple, Jamicah Gregg, Lincoln Rogers, Eric Littleton and Brenden McClintock along with tight ends Parker Busch and Colby Rush manhandled the Bulldogs.
— While Malakoff didn’t pass as much as normal, quarterback Darion Peace was able to throw for some key completions. He had 177 yards and a touchdown on nine completions.
— Andreas Garrett caught four of those passes for 127 yards, including a wide receiver screen he took 79 yards to the house.
— Are you wondering just how completely Malakoff controlled the ball and the clock? Well, not counting plays wiped out by penaties, kickoffs or extra points, Malakoff ran 67 plays to Jefferson’s 31. And even that isn’t a fair representation because 8 of Jefferson’s snaps came on its final drive. Jefferson had just five offensive plays in the first half.
— Malakoff had touchdown drives of 14 plays, 15 plays, and 16 plays.
— We haven’t said much about the Tiger defense and part of that is because it wasn’t on the field very much. But if you were going to pick a turning-point play of the game, you’d probably look at the defense stopping Jefferson on 4th down late in the third quarter. With Malakoff nursing a 3-point lead, Jefferson drove down to the Malakoff 19 where it faced a 4th and 2. The Tiger defense bowed up and dropped Jefferson’s ball carrier for a loss of one. Three plays later, Garrett took off on his 79-yard scoring romp and Jefferson never threatened again.
— Jefferson likes its trick plays. It ran a reverse flea flicker and a throw back to the quarterback in the same series.
— While playoff games are played on neutral fields, it sure felt like a Malakoff home game. Tiger fans travel well and the crowd was electric Friday afternoon and that energy was definitely felt on the sidelines.