The Elba Tigers put an exclamation mark on their ‘bounce back’ season as they claimed their ninth victory of the regular season for the first time in five years with a solid 40-12 region road win over the Houston County Lions.
Houston County received the opening kickoff and surprised the Tigers as they went 73 yards in six plays to grab an early lead. Kahleel Johnson rushed for 35 yards on one carry and completed four of five passes for 30 yards to spark the long scoring drive, with the touchdown coming on a 27-yard pass to Ladarius Maybin. A two-point pass missed its target, but with 9:23 remaining in the first quarter the Lions were already on top 6-0.
Elba lost a fumble on its second play of the game to put Houston County back in business near midfield, but a pass interception by the Tigers Peyton McCart handed the ball back to Elba at the Lions 46-yardline and from there it took Elba five plays to take the lead.
Alvin Henderson rushed for 16 yards on two carries to get the drive started, while JT Coleman rushed for 30 yards on three carries and capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. Alex Wisecup kicked the extra point as the Tigers moved ahead 7-6 with 6:36 left in the quarter.
Elba began its next offensive series at its own 27-yardline after a Lions punt and once again it took the Tigers five plays to each the endzone. Twenty-eight yards in penalties against Houston County aided the long scoring march, while Brayden Johnson kept the ball on the final two plays of the drive, with the second going for a 1-yard Tiger touchdown. The extra point attempt failed, but with 2:55 left in the quarter Elba was on top 13-6.
Elba began its next possession at the Houston County 34-yardline after a partially blocked punt and this time it took the Tigers four plays to reach paydirt. Alvin Henderson rushed for 29 yards on just two carries and scored the touchdown on an 18-yard dash, and Wisecup booted the extra point as the Tigers lead grew to 20-6 with 9:18 left in the second quarter.
Elba regained possession at its own 24-yardline after Peyton McCart’s second interception of the half, and from there it took the Tigers four plays to cash in the turnover. JT Coleman scored his second touchdown of the night on a 39-yard scamper, and when Alex Wisecup kicked the extra point the Tigers were on top 27-6 with 5:04 remaining in the half.
The Tigers got the ball right back on an on-sides kick and appeared to add to their lead on a 31-yard run by Chrystyile Caldwell. However, a penalty flag wiped the points off the scoreboard, and at halftime the Tigers owned a 27-6 advantage.
Elba received the second half kickoff and went 48 yards in four plays to stretch its lead. A 30-yard run by Byron Burks sparked the scoring drive, while the touchdown came on a 15-yard run around the right side by Brayden Johnson. Alex Wisecup added the extra point, and with 10:33 left in the third quarter the Tigers were in command with a 34-6 lead.
Elba lost a fumble on its next possession after reaching the Houston County six-yardline, but began its third series of the half at the Lions nine-yardline after a 33-yard punt return by JT Coleman, and this time cashed in the short field to extend its lead. Coleman scored his third touchdown of the game on a 7-yard run, and while the extra point try failed, the Tigers owned a 40-6 lead with 11:52 left in the fourth quarter.
Houston County began its ensuing possession at its own 26-yardline and marched 74 yards in 11 plays to get back into the endzone. Isaiah McKenzie rushed for 15 yards on four carries to help lead the Lions down the field, while Darious McKenzie rushed for 29 yards on four carries and scored the Lions touchdown on a 6-yard gallop. A two-point run failed, and with 2:06 left on the clock the Tigers lead stood at 40-12.
Elba had a touchdown run nullified by a penalty flag on the game’s final play, but it made little difference anywhere but the scoreboard as the Tigers claimed the 40-12 road win.