|SF effort only enough for one game |
|Posted: Monday, November 7, 2011 7:02 pm |
| Kelly Spivey sounded like a coach who wasn’t ready for his season to be over with. |
He wasn’t sure his team’s performance echoed his feelings.
“We looked like we were afraid to win because we might have to practice another week,” the South Fulton skipper said after the Red Devils suffered a disappointing 19-12 first-round Class 1A playoff loss at Gleason Friday night that ended their season.
“I’ve never felt like this at the end of a season. I’m disappointed in our effort and I’m obviously disappointed in the outcome because we still should’ve won the game, in spite of how we played. They just played harder than we did.”
The win avenged a convincing 35-6 regular season loss to SF for the Bulldogs, who won just the second-ever playoff game in their program’s history. Gleason is now 2-8 all-time in the playoffs and played at Parks-Edwards Field for just the second time in the postseason.
The third-seeded Bulldogs (6-5) — winners of three consecutive games now — can gain another measure of revenge in Round 2 by going on the road and winning at No. 2 seed West Carroll, which beat Gleason 31-15 in an early regular season meeting. The War Eagles (6-4) had a first round bye.
South Fulton, which finished the season at 4-7 and lost its last four in a row to continue a trend of spiraling downward in the final month of the season over the last four seasons, led Friday’s game 12-7 heading into the fourth quarter.
But Gleason went in front with 11 minutes to play on David Spellings’ eight-yard scoring run that capped a 40-yard, seven-play drive. The Bulldogs then essentially sealed their triumph with a 12-play, 72-yard march that ate up nearly six minutes of the fourth quarter and was culminated by quarterback Conner Verdell’s two-yard scoring keeper with 1:12 to play.
The Red Devils’ inside-outside running attack of fullback Cody Tatum and tailback J.P. Fowler, who combined to rack up 179 yards and four touchdowns in the teams’ first meeting, managed just 85 yards on 22 carries in Friday’s rematch.
The two did account for both SF scores, Fowler capping a game-opening 69-yard, 10-play drive with a three-yard run, and Tatum bowling over from the four just before halftime after a 58-yard JaQuay Garmon to Harrison Hawks pass had positioned SF to hit paydirt.
“We couldn’t run the football, and that was a theme at some time or another in every game we lost this year,” Spivey continued. “We tried to throw the ball deep more, and we completed a couple, but just didn’t get the job done.”
SF was outgained 296-215 all totaled and doubled in rushing yardage 252-122. Gleason had 22 first downs to just seven for the Redmen, who never crossed midfield in the second half.
“We just shot ourselves in the foot and did some things to ourselves that killed us,” the coach went on to say. “We had a couple of facemasks that really hurt us, we had 12 (men) on the field once, and we just never moved the ball at all after halftime. I thought we should’ve been further ahead at halftime and then we were getting the ball to start the second half, but we did nothing with it.
“You look at our tackle chart and Ryan Moore had 11 tackles and J.P. Fowler had 10, but there was a huge drop-off after that. There were some exceptions and some positives, but I was just disappointed in our effort as a whole.”
South Fulton graduates five seniors, Tatum, Chance Hamlin, Cody Fowler, Kendall Greer and Zach Cheney. Published in The Messenger 11.7.11