By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN
MALAKOFF — The Malakoff Tigers have shown that they can win by lighting up the scoreboard, but Friday night they showed they can also win on grit.
The Tigers (3-1) toughed out a 21-10 homecoming win over Spring Hill (2-3) by leaning on its defense and getting just enough plays from its short-handed offense.
Except for a single breakdown in the fourth quarter when Spring Hill connected on a 63-yard touchdown pass, the Tigers defense shut down the Panthers. Malakoff held Spring Hill to just three first downs in the first half and just eight overall.
According to my unofficial stats, the Tigers held Spring Hill to under 200 yards of total offense. Half the Panthers’ yards came on three pass plays of 63, 23, and 15 in the fourth quarter.
The Malakoff defensive front seven has been stout all year and it was no different in this game. The Tigers came up with three sacks on the night, including a huge one by Caleb Adams late in the fourth quarter with Malakoff nursing a four-point lead.
Offensively, young players stepped up for the Tigers. Malakoff was led by sophomore quarterback Darion Peace, who rushed 22 times for 153 yards and two touchdowns of 7 and 30 yards, plus added a 43-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Nathan Jones.
Jones had five catches for 59 yards on the night. Peace could have had better stats throwing, but the Tiger receivers struggled with drops Friday.
The other workhorse for the Tigers Friday was junior running back Keevie Rose, who carried 16 times for 121 yards.
Freshman Duce Hart pitched in with 24 yards on seven carries.
Malakoff will have next Friday night off before getting back to work Friday, Oct. 12, on the road at Dallas Life Oak Cliff.