There’s an old saying in football that you can’t win a game in the first quarter but you can lose one in the first quarter.
Friday night, Many proved that wrong, scoring 30 unanswered points in the first 4 minutes and 29 seconds of the first quarter that basically decided the outcome of a Class 2A quarterfinal with visiting Rosepine.
The defending state champions (12-1) cruised home for a 50-12 victory over the Eagles, posting their eighth quarterfinal win in the last nine seasons.
The Tigers move on to the semifinal round next week in Many at John W. Curtis Stadium at 7:00. Many will face district rival Avoyelles, coming off a 46-28 victory at North Caddo and making its first semifinal appearance.
Rosepine made the 51-mile drive up U.S. 171 riding the crest of a double overtime 43-42 victory last Friday over Red River. The idea that the Eagles would extend momentum of that thrilling win into their matchup with Many was blown up in slightly more time than it took for the pregame fireworks show.
Jeremiah James got the onslaught started with a quick 47-yard sprint up the middle for the first Tiger touchdown. The Tigers covered 63 yards in three plays that only took 1 minute and 37 seconds off the clock.
A quick Rosepine three-and-out was followed by a bad snap on the punt attempt. Tylen Singleton recovered at the 5-yard line. Two plays later James scored from the 2 and with Tackett Curtis’s two-point conversion the score was 14-0 with 9:26 left in the first.
Rosepine’s next possession also ended rather quickly, as Jayvion Smart stepped in front of an intended receiver and returned the interception 31 yards for another Many score just 53 seconds later. London Williams added the two-pointer for a 22-0 lead.
On their first play from scrimmage on the ensuing possession, the Eagles fumbled an option pitch and Curtis recovered it. The Tigers scored on the very next play on a Curtis pass to Jack Deville over the middle that covered 23 yards. Williams added the conversion to make the score 30-0 with 7:31 left in the first quarter.
Some fans were just arriving as Many already had 30 points.
Rosepine finally answered on the next possession, a six-play drive covering 57 yards, the last 33 coming on an Ethan Frey pass to Braden Trull down the sideline. The extra point kick was blocked by Swayze Carheel, leaving the margin at 30-6.
Rosepine kept fighting, and shortly before halftime covered 40 yards on seven plays, the last 11 yards coming on a Frey pass to Isaiah Stinson. The conversion failed, but the lead was trimmed to 30-12 with 2:21 left in the half.
The Tigers were not content going into halftime with an 18-point lead. After the kickoff, Many worked its way 65 yards in less than two minutes. The six-play drive, all runs, ended with a Williams 20-yard touchdown run. The conversion was missed, but the Tigers led 36-12 with 28 seconds to go in the half.
On Rosepine’s second play of the third quarter, Smart picked off another Frey pass — Smart’s second of the night and fifth in the last two games. Williams ended the Tigers’ eight-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. James added the conversion to push the spread to 44-12 with 7:42 left in the third quarter.
The next Rosepine possession featured arguably the best players from both teams in a collision that could be heard all around the stadium. Curtis and Frey met on a run up the middle that ended with Curtis making a spectacular hit on Frey.
Rosepine turned the ball over on downs after running 10 plays on that drive.
Many’s last touchdown came at the 7:42 mark of the fourth quarter, on a James 5-yard run.
The Tigers ran 53 plays for 314 yards, 253 yards rushing and 61 passing. The Tigers amassed 16 first downs. The referees flagged the Tigers eight times for 88 yards.
Rosepine’s 56 plays netted 173 yards, 155 passing and 18 rushing. The Eagles gained 12 first downs and were flagged six times for 45 yards.
Rosepine’s first trip ever to the quarterfinals ended with a loss to the top-seeded Tigers but the Eagles showed a lot of grit and determination, led by a great player in Frey. Their season ended with an 11-2 record and nothing to hang their heads about.
For Many, it’s business as usual, with another semifinal berth, although this time, it’s a rematch of a down-to-the-wire 34-30 win over Avoyelles last month in Many.
The bickering back and forth from friends and opposing head coaches Andy Boone and Jess Curtis will surely highlight the week leading up to the game. On the line will be a trip to the Superdome, with Many attempting to go back to back with state championships in Class 2A. The teams in the other semifinal game will be Jonesboro-Hodge and Amite.
10:23 M – Jeremiah James 47-yard run, conversion failed, 6-0
9:26 M – James 2-yard run, two-point conversion by Tackett Curtis, 14-0
8:33 M – Jayvion Smart 31-yard interception return, two-point conversion by London Williams, 22-0
7:39 M – Curtis 23-yard pass to Jack Deville, two-point conversion by Williams, 30-0
5:14 R – Ethan Frey 33-yard pass to Braden Trull, conversion failed, 30-6
2:21 R – Frey 11-yard pass to Isaiah Stinson, conversion failed, 30-12
0:28 M – Williams 20-yard run, conversion failed, 36-12
7:42 M – Williams 4-yard run, James two-point conversion,44-12
7:42 M = James 5-yard run, conversion failed, 50-12
Passing: M – Curtis 3-7, 61 yards, 1 TD
R – Frey 7-21, 155 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Rushing: M – Williams 20-121, 2 TD’s; James 13-107, 3 TD’s; Curtis 3-12,
McLendon 3-11, Maxie 1-1, Aldredge 1-1
R – 28-18
Receiving M – Deville 2-40, 1 TD, Leach 1-21
R – 7-155, 2 TD’s
Tackles M – Singleton 4 unassisted, Curtis and Montgomery 6 total, Matkin 5 total, Carheel 4