WRITTEN BY DANIEL PAYNE
This past Friday night the rivalry known by many as the Rumble on the River took place at West Blocton High School. This years game was more than just a county rival game. This game would play a key role in the region standings. Both teams came into the game with a 3-1 record in region play.
The Tigers would receive the opening kickoff and took over at their own 20 yard line. After picking up a first down the Tigers were forced to punt a few plays later. Following a 23 yard punt the Choctaws took over at their own 44 yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Dehsun Murrell went left and followed his blockers and broke free down the sidelines for a 56 yard touchdown run. The Choctaws two point conversion was no good and with 7:42 left in the game Bibb led 6-0.
That lead would be short lived as the Tigers would get good field position after the following kickoff. On the first play from scrimmage Caden Blake went up the middle and fought his way for a 53 yard touchdown scamper. The Tigers went for two and were turned away leaving the score 6-6 with 7:21 to go in the first quarter.
After the Choctaws were forced to punt following a three and out on their next possession, the Tigers took over at their own 22 yard line. The Tigers would begin to find holes and began to move down the field. On the first play of the second quarter, Tigers quarterback Jackson Champion found Austin Battles behind the Choctaws secondary for a 31 yard touchdown strike. The try for two was again denied leaving the Tigers with a 12-6 lead.
Both teams would find it hard to not only move the ball, but also to hold onto the ball as torrential rain was now falling. After both teams turned the ball over via a fumble, the Choctaws defense held the Tigers on 4th and 2 at their own 33 yard line.
The Choctaws took over with 3:35 to go in the first half and with the running of Murrell and passing of Cole McCarty found themselves in Tigers territory with just over a minute to play in the half. On a 2nd and 3 play McCarty dropped back and found Steven Cash all alone behind the Tigers secondary for a 39 yard touchdown pass. Murrell cashed in on the two point conversion to send the teams to the half with the Choctaws leading 14-12.
The Tigers recovered an onside kick to begin the second half and were set up with excellent field position at their own 49 yard line. Blake carried the ball for four straight plays and following a block in the back penalty against the Tigers, they would face a 3rd and 16 from the Choctaws 44 yard line. The Choctaws defense came up strong as Dillon Williams ran down Champion from behind causing a fumble that the Choctaws recovered all the way back at the Tigers 42 yard line.
The Choctaws turned to Murrell on their next drive and it took just four plays as he took a handoff and ran to his right and into the end zone for a 20 yard touchdown run. Murrell added the two point conversion to push the Choctaws lead to 22-12 with just over seven minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
After the kickoff, the Tigers took over on their own 46 yard line. Behind the running of Champion and Blake they began to move the ball into Choctaws territory. On third and 8 from Bibb’s 41, Battles took the handoff and went around the end for a 41 yard touchdown run. Hunter Brand cashed in on the 2 point conversion to make the score 22-20 with 3:35 left in the third quarter.
The Choctaws took the kickoff and began to drive down the field and soon found themselves inside the Tigers 40. But the Tigers defense would hold the Choctaws on a 4th down play to force the change of possession with just under a minute left in the quarter.
The Tigers took over on their own 37 and behind the running of Battles, Blake, and Jaxson Lightsey they were soon deep in Choctaws territory. On a 4th and 8 from Bibb’s 27, Champion found Lightsey open in the flat for a 13 yard gain and the first down. The Choctaws defense stiffened and on 4th and 7 from the 11 yard line they stopped Brand a yard short of the first down marker to take over on downs with 5:47 left to play.
The Tigers defense held the Choctaws and forced a punt that went just 13 yards to give the Tigers the ball at the Bibb 25 yard line with 2:10 to go in the game. Blake got the ball on the next two plays and the Choctaws defense held him to just 2 yard to set a 3rd and 8 from the 23. The Tigers took a timeout with 1:37 left to set up their next play. As the play began, the snap was bobbled and the Tigers had to fall on the ball for 5 yard loss to set up a 4th and 13 from the 28. The Tigers sent Battles in to attempt a 45 yard field goal and the kick was to the left and fell helplessly in the end zone.
The Choctaws would go into victory formation and take a knee the next two plays to end this battle and claim the 22-20 victory.
This game was one that both teams left everything they had on the field. Neither fan base had anything to be ashamed of as these two teams gave all of their heart and energy to this game that they love and put on a great show for everyone that was in attendance and watching via live stream.
Bibb was led by Murrell who had 206 yards on 25 carries and 2 touchdowns. McCarty was 3-6 for 54 yards and a touchdown.
West Blocton was led by Blake who had 146 yards on 27 carries and a touchdown. Battles added 77 yards on 7 carries and a touchdown. He also had a receiving touchdown. Champion finished 4-6 for 44 yards and a touchdown.
As I mentioned at the beginning, this game had huge implications in the region standings. With the win, the Choctaws assured themselves of the #2 seed in the region and a first round playoff home game. The Choctaws move to 6-2 on the season and 4-1 in the region. The Tigers drop to 4-3 on the season and 3-2 in the region. The Tigers are assured a playoff spot but will have to wait to see where they will be seeded after the next few weeks play out.
Both teams will not play this coming up week as both teams games have been forfeited by the opposing teams. Bibb will host Holt on October 23rd and the Tigers will travel to take on ACA on the same night.
Good luck to both teams as they move forward.