Tornadoes savor region title, open playoffs
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 12:00 AM
The Philadelphia Tornadoes open play in the Class 3A state football playoffs Friday night when they play host to Velma Jackson.
Above, a Philadelphia defender tackles a Choctaw County player. The Tornadoes wrapped up the Region 5-3A championship 41-6 against Choctaw County.
Philadelphia wrapped up the Region 5-3A championship for the sixth time in seven years last Friday night as the Tornadoes mowed down Choctaw County 41-6. The Tornadoes enter the playoffs with a 10-1 record.
Velma Jackson defeated St. Andrews 38-12 Friday to qualify for the playoffs as the No. 4 team out of Region 6-3A. The Hawks come in at 6-5.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
"We take them one at a time," Philadelphia Coach Teddy Dyess said after congratulating his team on winning the region again. "We will be focusing on Velma Jackson. We have to beat them before we can think about the next round."
Dyess said that hard work on the part of his players is the key to Philadelphia success.
"If you come up here during the summer, there is always someone in the weight room or running on the field," Dyess said. "We play a lot of 7-on-7. It takes a lot of time and dedication and that's what is expected."
The Tornadoes got on the scoreboard with 5:27 left in the first quarter when Jacardius Griffin burst into the end zone from six yards out. John Harold Smith kicked the extra point and the Tornadoes led 7-0.
Choctaw County took the kick off and was driving deep into Tornado territory when linebacker Fent Mars intercepted a pass and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown. Smith's kick was good and the Tornadoes led 14-0 with 2:02 left in the first quarter.
Kaylon Gray then pulled in the first of two second quarter TD receptions with 10:34 left in the second quarter. Quarterback Romon Gray found Kaylon on a 26-yard TD pass play. Smith kicked the extra point to put the Tornadoes up 21-0.
Choctaw County responded with a touchdown of its own. Jamarcus Bradley ran 19 yards for a touchdown with 6:50 left in the half. The extra point try was no good and the Tornadoes led 21-6.
The Grays then connected on another TD pass play with Romon finding Kaylon on a 12-yard TD pass play. Smith kicked the extra point and the Tornadoes led 28-6 with 4:44 left in the half.
Later in the half, the Tornadoes missed on a 36-yard field goal attempt and the score stood the same as the teams went into the dressing rooms for the intermission.
The Tornadoes took the second half kickoff. Griffin scored on a three-yard run, capping an eight play, 62-yard drive. Smith kicked the extra point and the Tornadoes led 35-6.
Dyess started playing his reserves in the third quarter and throughout the fourth. Philadelphia's final touchdown came on a 47-yard run by Dontae Poe. The Tornadoes took a knee on the two-point conversion attempt.
Philadelphia finished with 244 rushing yards on 36 rushes and 156 passing yards on nine catches, giving the Tornadoes 400 total yards.
Griffin had 124 yards on 19 rushes while Poe finished with 96 yards on nine carries. Kaylon Gray had five catches for 82 yards while Abe Mars pulled down three for 67.
Fent Mars led Philadelphia on defense with 14 tackles. Josh Rush and Josten Barstrum added six apiece and Johntreal Pickens recovered a fumble.
At the end of the regular season, Griffin is the leading rusher with 1229 yards on 172 carries. Romon Gray has rushed for 727 yards on 108 carries. He has completed 60-of-123 for 1114 yards. T.J. Hudson is the leading receiver with 25 catches for 456 yards while Kaylon Gray 23 catches for 474 yards. Abe Mars had 11 catches for 181 yards.
Fent Mars lead the team in tackles with 123. Kaylon Burnside has 74 tackles. Mars has five interceptions while Edrick McClendon has four.