OHATCHEE — After reaching last year’s Class 3A state semifinals, Ohatchee started its 2017 season with a tough win against Class 1A opponent Ragland 21-6.
A difficult first half paved the way for a productive second to give Ohatchee its first win of the year. A first-quarter fumble cost the Indians by allowing the Purple Devils an opportunity to score. They took a touchdown lead on a four-down conversion, but missed the two-point conversion, which was a fortunate break for Ohatchee.
“We’ve got to eliminate (the turnovers),” Ohatchee coach Scott Martin said. “You can’t turn the ball over three times and expect to win many games.”
Despite the tough first half for Ohatchee, the Indians still managed to run up 145 yards of total offense with quarterback Grayson Alward accounting for 58 yards with his feet, while running back Jesse Sellers ran for 57. Kevin Williamson, Domonique Thomas and Cam McCombs all helped with a combined 30 yards.
Martin said he told his team at the half that they had to play the entire 48 minutes if they hoped to win the game.
“I never got mad,” Martin said. “I just said, ‘Guys it’s time to have some composure. I don’t get to play a snap on that field. I’m not between the lines and so for us to win the football game y’all have to got to make something happen.’”
The halftime speech seemed to have its desired effect. Thomas found his speed in the third quarter and took a handoff 5 yards in for Ohatchee’s first touchdown of the game. With the extra point, Ohatchee finally led 7-6. The defense of Ohatchee kept the Purple Devils at bay and Williamson nearly picked off Ragland’s Noah Hollingsworth before they turned it over on downs.
Alward came out swinging at the start of the final quarter of play and the Indians scored a 31-yard touchdown off their quarterback’s legs to put them up 14-6. The Indians were forced to punt in their next series but a bad snap on Ragland’s next drive gave Ohatchee the ball at mid-field.
Thomas and McCombs took turns taking the ball down field until Thomas ran in from 10 yards out to score the Indians’ final touchdown of the game.
Ohatchee’s Williamson kept the ball out of Ragland’s end zone with an interception toward the end, and time ran out for the Purple Devils.
Thomas ran for another 48 yards in the second half including two touchdowns, behind him was McCombs, who accounted for 34 yards of his own. In total the Indians had more than 250 yards of total offense in the game and held their opponent to only six points.
“We were a whole different team in the second half,” Martin said. “We still made mistakes, but we had some energy and we played a lot better.”