The Aberdeen Tigers faced a very dangerous Malad Dragon football team on Thursday night in a crucial Fifth District game. The Tigers won the game 31-28 to put them into the state tournament.
The Dragons have a very good offense, according to Tiger coach Jeff Duffin, so the Tiger game plan was to use their double wing offensive set to score points while grinding up the clock to keep the ball away from the Dragons.
The Dragons won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Tigers started their first drive on their own 35-yard line. The Tigers drove the ball 65-yards in 12 plays capped off with a 6 yard run on a QB keeper right by Clancy Beck. Tony Lemos carried the ball five times on the opening drive for 45 of the 65 yards.
“Our line came out fired up and really took it to the Dragons on the first drive setting the tone for the whole first half,” Duffin said.
The Tigers added 2 points with a run by Clancy Beck.
On the Dragons’ opening drive Hilario Carrillo caused the Malad running back to fumble the ball and Chandler Foster recovered the fumble on the Dragons 40-yard line. Eleven plays later Rylan Beck punched it in from one yard out on a QB sneak to put the Tigers up 14-0 with 1:38 remaining in the first quarter.
“Our line came out and really set the tone on those first two drives and just dominated the line of scrimmage,” Duffn said.
The Tigers came up short on the 2-point attempt.
On the following kickoff the Tigers attempted an onside kick that was very close to being recovered by the Tigers but slipped out of bounds. The Dragons started their second drive on their 35-yard line. The Dragons drove the ball 65-yards on the Tigers and after a successful PAT attempt made the score 14-7 with 10:14 left in the second quarter.
The Tigers started their third drive of the game from the Tiger 40 yard line. The Tigers drove the ball 60 yards in 10 plays capped of with a QB keeper right by Clancy Beck from 1 yard out to put the Tigers up 20-7. Abe Torres added the extra point to make it 21-7 with 7:27 remaining in the second quarter.
The Tigers forced the Dragons to punt on their third drive.
“It was a great defensive stand highlighted by a QB sack by Hilario Carrillo and Jake Deolles. Jake and Hilario did a good job of getting to the QB and it was great pass coverage that caused the Malad QB to hold the ball long enough for them to get there,” he said.
The Tigers started their fourth drive of the game from the Tiger 20-yard line. On the second play Clancy Beck hit Hilario Carrillo with a 10-yard out route and he took the ball 64 yards for a touchdown. Abe Torres made the extra point to make the score 28-7 with 3:55 left in the second quarter.
The Dragons started their next drive on their 33-yard line. The Dragons drove the ball 67 yards in seven plays to make the score 28-13 going into halftime after missing the extra point attempt.
The Dragons received the kickoff to start the second half and started their drive on their 28-yard line. The Tiger defense held strong and forced the Dragons into a fourth and 4 yards to go for the first down. They pulled off a fake punt and ran the ball 25 yards off tackle right to pick up a first down and more. Nine plays later the Dragons scored and after a successful 2-point attempt the score was 28-21.
“The fake punt was a huge play for the Dragons,” Duffin said.
The Tigers first drive of the second half stalled out at the Dragon 43 yard line and the Tigers turned the ball back over to the Dragons on downs. The Tiger defense held tough, Duffin said, and held the Dragons on the next four plays and got the ball back on the Dragon 47 yard line. Ten plays later with 7:05 left in the fourth quarter the Tigers were facing a fourth down and 12 on the Dragon 20 yard line. Abe Torres came in and hit a huge 36-yard field goal to put the Tigers up 31-21.
On the Dragons following drive they would go 60 yards for a touchdown to make the score 31-28 after making the PAT.
“They got us with their draw play for 50 yards on that drive, we knew it was coming, but they still pulled it off. They run it very well,” Duffin said.
The Tigers following drive stalled out at the Dragon 10-yard line.
“Even though we weren’t able to score on our last drive we did burn the clock down to 1:26 and put the Dragons in a hole they ended up not being able to get out of,” Duffin said.
The Tigers were led defensively by Jake Deolles and Hilario Carrillo with 11 tackles each and they shared 3 quarterback sacks. Ethan Elliott had 9 tackles.
Tony Lemos led the Tigers offensively with 109 yards rushing.
“Tony did a great job Thursday night running hard and taking care of the ball,” he added.
“Our whole coaching staff was very pleased overall with our team’s performance. They came out and played hard the whole game and earned their spot in the state tournament.”
The Tigers will play the North Fremont Huskies in the first round of the state tournament at Holt Arena in Pocatello at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31.