Valiant Effort: Cumby ousted in area round of playoffs by Tigers

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Nov. 25, 2007 - GLADEWATER - The Cumby Trojans made the most out of their trip to the Class A area round playoffs, but it wasn't enough in the end as the Tenaha Tigers ended the Trojans season with a 22-8 win at Jack V. Murphy Stadium Friday night.

"We did not play very good offensively," said Cumby head coach Kent Hawthorne. "The kids showed up defensively and played hard tonight. We did not make the plays and their speed was hard for us to take care of tonight. The offensive line had a hard time blocking them and we had one of our better kids (B.T. Brown) hurt in the game and it kills the momentum."

This was the first playoff appearance for the Trojans since 1979 as Cumby ended the season at 6-5 overall. They were the third-place team in District 17-A behind Quinlan Boles and Wolfe City.

"I am a little disappointed about the season," he said. "The kids did play hard this season but now we have just got to work harder and try to get better for the future."

With the win, Tenaha will advance to the Region III quarterfinals against Grapeland, who defeated West Sabine 26-8, next weekend.

Senior tailback Nathan Dunnihoo led the Trojans with 13 carries for 73 yards, while Brixx Hawthorne had 24 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown run of 62 yards. Senior Jake Vann was the game's leading receiver with one catch for 50 yards.

Tenaha was led by Camaron Choice with 15 carries for 118 yards and one touchdown, while quarterback Jared Thomas had 14 carries for 73 yards and one touchdown.

Defensively, the Trojans had interceptions from Kris Stanford and senior B.T. Brown, who was injured on his interception with seven seconds remaining in the first half. He did not return to the game in the second half.

Thomas had not thrown an interception in six previous games and finished the night 0-for-6 passing for the Tigers.

On Cumby opening possession of the game, the offense had a drive stall on their own 42-yard line. On the punt by Hawthorne, Tenaha's Marlon McClure returned the ball 43-yards into Cumby territory as they looked to gain the early momentum.

After a penalty by Tenaha that replayed fourth-down, Hawthorne kicked the ball away from McClure as the punt went 16-yards down to the Tigers 41-yard line.

The Cumby defense held the high-powered Tigers offense on their first four drives but could not capitalize on their longest drive of the night as the Trojans put together a 12-play, 35 yard drive that ended on the Tigers 12 yard line as Hawthorne threw a pass incomplete on fourth-and-five.

"It was pretty tough," the coach said. "We had two drives where we got down to their one-yard line and could not capitalize and started going backwards. We were making mistakes and missing blocks and those plays we have been running all year long. Sometimes you have success with them and sometimes you don't but we keep playing and do what we do."

Tenaha (9-3) was able to get on the scoreboard in the second quarter as Choice found a hole in the right side of the Cumby defensive line and sprinted 55 yards to paydirt. The Tigers went for two as Thomas found Marlon McClure in the back of the endzone for the two-point conversion and the 8-0 lead with 5:52 remaining in the first half.

On their opening drive of the second half, the Tigers marched down the field to take a 16-0 lead as they had a 10-play, 61 yard drive capped off by a seven yard touchdown run from Thomas. Tenaha went for two as Choice scored on the conversion with 8:23 remaining in the third quarter.

The Trojans found paydirt on their first drive of the second half as Hawthorne sprinted 62 yards for the touchdown down the Cumby sideline with 7:10 remaining in the half. The Trojans went for two as Dunnihoo ran straight through the line for the 16-8 deficit.

During the drive, the Trojans had a key reception from 6-4 senior Kris Stanford on second-and-15 from the Cumby 24 yard line. Hawthorne found Kris Stanford on a 14 yard completion as Stanford finished the night with three catches for 35 yards.

After a fumble on the ensuing kickoff by Tenaha's J.J. Miles, Hawthorne found a wide open Jake Vann at the Tenaha 3-yard line on a 50-yard completion, but the Trojans could not score as the Tigers defense held Cumby to minus-12 yards of offense with 5:20 remaining in the third quarter.

With time winding down in the fourth quarter, Tenaha put the nail in the coffin on a five-play, 24-yard drive as McClure scored from a yard-out for the 22-8 lead with 1:23 remaining in the game.

Both teams combined for 12 fumbles as the Trojans had seven fumbles, compared to five for the Tigers. Tenaha lost three of their fumbles, while Cumby recovered all seven of their fumbles.

"I guess the fumbles occurred because it was slippery out here tonight," Hawthorne said. "We fumbled the ball a bunch and they did too. We could not keep our hands on the ball and I do not have a clue what it could have been. It affected us and them throughout the ballgame."

Notes: This was the final game for seniors Stanford, Dunnihoo, Vann, Brown, Brian Clem, Petter Hassel and Michael Cross. ... The Quinlan Boles Hornets (10-0) were scheduled to face Maud (8-2) today at 3 p.m. in Pittsburg, while Wolfe City (5-5) will battle Joaquin (9-2) tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Gladewater.

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