Tigers secure victory against bulldogs
Published 4:13 pm Thursday, August 31, 2023
By Haley Mitchell Godwin
In a thrilling showdown that had fans on the edge of their seats, the Luverne Tigers emerged victorious against the Brantley Bulldogs, marking a triumphant reversal of fortunes from the past two years.
The final score stood at 28-14, with the Tigers displaying an impressive and cohesive performance throughout the game.
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The Tigers set the tone right from the beginning as Dee Smith sprinted for a remarkable 60-yard touchdown run on the very first play from scrimmage. A successful extra point by Jose Vasquez swiftly brought the score to 7-0, giving Luverne an early advantage. The momentum continued to swing in Luverne’s favor when Myrez Gross executed a 17-yard touchdown run with six minutes and 23 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The score rose to 15-0 after a two-point conversion by Tavion Rainey.
Brantley fought back during the second quarter, with Daylan Davis snatching a 35-yard reception from Jon Harper Kilcrease, placing the Bulldogs on the scoreboard. The subsequent kick, however, failed to find its mark, leaving the score at 15-6 in favor of the Tigers.
Luverne’s offense maintained its relentless drive. Tavion Rainey’s explosive 63-yard touchdown run further solidified the Tigers’ lead, boosting the score to 22-6 after a successful extra point by Vasquez.
As the clock ticked down to halftime, Gross secured his second touchdown of the night with just 41 seconds left on the clock. This pivotal play was fueled by a turnover from the Brantley Bulldogs, pushing the score to a commanding 28-6 lead in favor of Luverne.
The second half saw both teams intensify their defensive efforts, resulting in limited scoring opportunities. Brantley managed to close the gap with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Kilcrease to Davis in the fourth quarter. The successful two-point conversion brought the Bulldogs’ score to 14 points, still trailing behind Luverne.
With just over three minutes remaining in the game, Luverne’s Carson Simmons intercepted a Brantley pass, setting the stage for Luverne to seal their victory. As the final seconds ticked away, sophomore Tony Franklin carried the ball for his first play of the game, allowing the Tigers to run out the clock and clinch their well-earned triumph.
Brantley’s Coach Roland Jones Jr. weighed in on the game.
“What a great crowd that showed up to watch these young kids from county schools,”Jones said. “It is so important that people support these schools. As for the game, we came out with a slow start and got behind early. Coach Rigby and his staff did a great job with his guys. His team played very hard and were ready to play. We had a lot of holes to fill off of last year’s team both Offensively and Defensively, a new quarterback who played tackle last year and all new skill guys. We had 2 fumbles and an interception that did not help the cause. Through the 2nd half we played better after we made some adjustments. We are so young but we are trying to get better each week so at the end of the season we are playing our best football. I was very pleased that we did not cramp in that hot weather, because most of the guys we have played offense and defense.”