CENTRE — Anniston quarterback Daveon Dukes found Tyree Carmichael alone in the left flat and Carmichael took the short pass 56 yards for a touchdown with 14.5 seconds left in the first half.
The score and A.J. Brown’s two-point conversion run gave Anniston momentum going into halftime and the Bulldogs defeated Cherokee County 27-7 in the Class 4A, Region 6 opener for each team.
Carmichael said the coaching staff had noticed that the Warriors followed motion. Anniston sent a back from the left side toward the right. When Carmichael slipped into the left flat he was completely alone.
Bulldogs head coach Rico White said he had noticed the tendency on film and when it continued Friday evening he felt the play to the speedy Carmichael would produce a touchdown. Carmichael made a prophet of his coach with his 56-yard dash that overcame a 7-6 deficit.
“That was a great call by Coach, a great call,” Carmichael said.
What to know
—Brown scored Anniston’s first touchdown on a 3-yard run midway through the first quarter and the final touchdown for the Bulldogs on a 13-yard run with 4:58 to play. He finished with 14 carries for 83 yards. Brown also punted three times for a 43.7 yard average.
—After a scoreless third quarter, Dukes tallied Anniston’s third touchdown on a 22-yard keeper at left end. Kevin Escareno’s kick upped the lead to 21-7 with 10:40 to play. Dukes finished the game 8-for-13 passing for 121 yards and did not throw an interception. He ran 11 times for 84 yards.
—Jordan Caldwell caught five passes for 43 yards. He was the possession receiver for Anniston as four of his receptions produced first downs.
—Caldwell, the Bulldogs’ safety on defense, had two of his team’s four takeaways. He recovered a fumble at the Cherokee County 41-yard line to end the Warriors’ first possession and had an interception with three minutes gone in the fourth period. Tony Hunley intercepted for Anniston late in the third and again late in the fourth.
—White on the go-ahead touchdown just before halftime: “The good thing about it is you’ve got Dukes at quarterback and you’ve got Tyree Carmichael who played quarterback (last year) so they know how to execute the play. They executed well and it worked for us.”
—Anniston linebacker Kaleb Jennings on the defensive unit holding Cherokee County to 37 yards rushing in the second half after allowing 135 yards in the first half: “Instead of us running up, we controlled the line. We stopped and read and let them come to us.”
—Dukes on the impact of Anniston winning its region opener: “We’ve got to come out every day at practice and practice hard. It feels good to get our first region game. It will motivate us for the rest of the season.”
—Each team continues Class 4A, Region 6 play next week. Anniston (1-1, 1-0) hosts Cleburne County. Cherokee County (1-1, 0-1) travels to Jacksonville.