Escambia High Gators: Tate Aggies: 35 - Escambia High Gators: 26

  Tate Aggies: 35 - Escambia High Gators: 26 Back to Schedules and Varsity Game Summary
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  Escambia High Gators 26     Stats
Game Played 10/30/2009 7:30PM  

Running game powers Tate past Escambia
Mac Knefely • News Journal Correspondent • October 31, 2009
Behind the strength of its offensive line, Tate High powered its way to a convincing 35-26 district victory against Escambia High on senior night at Pete Gindl Stadium.

After rushing for 210 yards in a dominating, first-half performance, the Aggies (5-3) pounded nearly 150 more rushing yards in the second half and were able to rest their starters.

"We didn't play sharp, the only time we played sharp was in the third quarter,' said Tate coach Ed Rigby. "We came out of the locker room without any rah-rah speeches and we just lined up and said, 'Here we come. We're going to win or lose running it.'

"I thought our offensive line executed well. And of course our defense was three-and-out left and right. We emptied the bench at the end for seniors and it cost us a couple of scores. But we won, and that's all the matters."

Despite allowing Escambia only 32 yards total offense in the first half, Tate clung to just a 12-6 lead at halftime.

The Aggies scored first in the game when Kevin Padgett ran a fake reverse, then broke three tacklers for a 7-yard touchdown with 6:33 left in the first quarter.

After forcing another Escambia punt, Tate finished off a nine-play drive with a 10-yard pitch to score by Deauntay Johnson with 3:03 left before halftime. The two-point conversion failed, leaving it 12-0 Tate.

While lacking offensively, Escambia special teams came through again as a bad punt snap gave the Gators inside Tate territory. Thanks to a pair of pass interference calls, DemArious Belcher ran just two yards in for a score to pull the Gators within six points.

Tate forced a fumble on the first drive of the second half and Petey Jones ran 11 yards into the end zone. Quadarious Ford converted a two-point conversion to put Aggies up 20-6.

"In the first half our defensive line was coming off the ball real hard and we tried to establish the line of scrimmage,' said Tate senior defensive end Cody Wood, who forced a fumble and had four tackles. "Our offense controlled the ball and we just couldn't answer with points.

"This wins keeps us in the race and now we have to worry about Navarre, but we're still in it."

Tate held again defensively, then turned on its running game as Edwin Richburg capped off an eight play drive with a keeper up the middle for a touchdown with 2:19 left in the third quarter.

Escambia rallied with three late scores. A last-minute onside kick was recovered by Tate.

"I'm proud of our kids. They didn't quit," said Escambia coach Jimmy Nichols, whose team was missing several key players with injuries. They fought hard and that's a great sign."

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