Alba-Golden ends Como-Pickton’s playoff hopes

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Nov. 4, 2007 - ALBA - With playoff hopes on the line for the Como-Pickton Eagles, the Alba-Golden Panthers dashed their hopes with a 28-17 win at Panther Stadium Friday night.

With the loss, the Eagles (3-6 overall, 0-4 in District 16-2A) have been eliminated from playoff contention with one game remaining.

"I guess we are still a young team trying to learn what we need to do," said first-year head coach Paul Tullis. "You can't go out and turn the ball over as much as we did and we can't have as many penalties as we had and expect to go out and win."

The Eagles had six fumbles - three of which were lost - and had 11 penalties for 66 yards. Alba-Golden had five fumbles, three of those fumbles were turnovers, and had four penalties for 35 yards.

CPHS will wrap up its regular season Friday night against the Grand Saline Indians (3-6, 2-2) at Ron Heflin Field. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

"We are going to have to got out there and try to win the game next week," Tullis said.

The Eagles came out on their opening drive and marched down the field as sophomore quarterback Austin Darby took the opening play 57 yards down to the Alba-Golden 28-yard line.

After a 14-yard completion from Darby to tight end Noe Tellez put the ball on the 9-yard line, the Eagles scored three plays later as Darby found Phillip Cox in the back of the end zone for the 7-0 lead after Tellez booted his first of two PATs good.

Following an Alba-Golden fumble on its first drive, the Eagles had the ball on their 9-yard line, but turned the ball over two plays later as the Panthers recovered on the CP 20-yard line.

Alba-Golden took advantage of the turnover as senior quarterback Austin Frye found a streaking Jesse Mitchell on a 20-yard completion to tie the game at 7-7 with 5:58 remaining in the first quarter. Frye kicked his first of four PATs good.

The Panthers took a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter on a five-play, 35-yard drive as Ryan Young went 19 yards to paydirt. Young finished the night with 15 carries for 105 yards and one score as the team's leading rusher.

CPHS put together an impressive drive with time running out in the first half as Mitch Lowe scored from a yard out with 19 seconds remaining in the half for the 14-14 tie. Tellez had a 51-yard reception from Darby on second-and-15 from the CPHS 20-yard line for the only pass play of the drive.

After a three-play drive by Alba-Golden which resulted in a fumble, the Eagles played smash-mouth football on a 12-play, 66-yard drive as James Carter had 43 yards rushing during the drive. Tellez capped off the possession with a 23-yard field goal for the 17-14 lead with 4:32 remaining.

Carter was the game's leading rusher with 24 totes for 154 yards for the Eagles.

The two teams traded turnovers on the next two drives as Alba-Golden turned the ball over on the Eagles' 3-yard line. Two plays later, the Eagles turned the ball over on their own 5-yard line as the Panthers cashed in on the turnovers.

The Panthers put together a three-play drive as the Como-Pickton defense stopped Young and Mitchell on first and second downs, respectively. Following a Panthers' timeout, Frye scored from 5-yards out on a quarterback keeper for the 21-17 lead.

"I mean you go out there and you have to try and play to win every game," Tullis said. "Like I said, our defense made two big plays for us down deep and we get two turnovers and score, and then we turn right around and give it right back for two of their scores. We had a first-and-goal on the four and we can't punch the ball in."

With 1:10 remaining in the third quarter, the Eagles had a drive stall at the Alba-Golden 20-yard line as Darby threw the pass incomplete into the corner of the end zone.

Tullis said taking a chance at the field goal was not an option at that point in the game.

"We felt like we needed to go down and score a touchdown and take the lead and gain some momentum," he said.

The Panthers took advantage of the Eagles' miscue and marched 80 yards in eight plays as Logan Williams took a reverse from 5-yards out for the 28-17 win.

Notes: The Winnsboro Red Raiders (8-1 overall, 4-0 in district) and the Quitman Bulldogs (8-1, 4-0 ) sealed their playoff spots and will face off next week for the district championship. ... Winnsboro defeated Hawkins, 67-0, while Quitman defeated Grand Saline 7-6. ... In the other district game next week, Alba-Golden travels to Hawkins.

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