By Daniel Brunty The Choctaw Plaindealer
In a rematch of last season’s opening game, the Ackerman Indians squared off against the Noxapater Tigers in non-division play this past Friday night.
Excitement was in the air as the two teams faced off for the second year in a row, with the Indians looking to repeat last year’s success of defeating the Tigers. In what would be a defensive battle most of the game, the Indians came out with a 12-0 victory over last season’s Class 1A State Champions.
The beginning of the game was rough for both teams, who were basically trying to feel each other out for most of the first half. The Indians returned the ball to their 41-yard line on the opening kickoff to have the first offensive possession of the game.
The Indians would try to establish their running game early using their “running back by committee” scheme, in which running backs K’Tre Brown and Cody Harris both saw carries in the first series. Senior quarterback would also set the tone by scrambling out the pocket and getting yardage on the ground instead of in the air.
With around eight minutes left in the first quarter, the Indians would have their first turnover as Brasher would drop back for a pass and was intercepted by the Noxapater defense.
The Tigers would take over and begin their first offensive series of the night. The Ackerman defense would make a strong showing, however, and would force the Tigers to punt the ball back to the Indians.
In their second offensive series, Brasher would set the tone as he continued to rack up rushing yards on the Tigers’ defense. After gaining some ground, the Tigers defense would force a turnover on downs with only a few minutes left in the first quarter.
Also wanting to establish their running game, the Tigers begin to move the ball down the field after a few big runs from their running back Trey Baber to end the first quarter.
The second quarter began with the Tigers in scoring range. The Indians’ defense would come through again, however, and made Noxapater turn the ball over on downs.
With a momentary stall in their running attack, the Indians began to put the ball in the air. After a few incomplete passes, the Indians would again turn the ball over on downs.
The Tigers would not have the ball long, as their quarterback Tyrell Carter was intercepted by Jamarcus Bradley with around eight minutes in the second quarter.
On their next drive, the Indians’ offense would see some production as they went back to their ground game and moved the ball all the way down to the Tigers’ 10-yard line.
In position for the game’s first points, the Indians would not be able to convert as the Tigers’ Trevara Miller would force a fumble on the ball carrier and recover it to give the Tigers back possession with around three minutes left in the first half of play.
The Tigers, however, would not be able to produce any points on the turnover, as they went three and out and punted the ball back to the Indians.
With only a few minutes left in the quarter, the Indians would also find themselves stalled offensively, leaving the score tied at 0 going into halftime.
Noxapater would receive the ball on the opening drive of the second half. Still not able to get their offense going, the Tigers would again punt the ball back to the Indians.
The third quarter would be back and forth as both teams exchanged possessions with neither scoring.
The action would begin in the fourth quarter of the game, with the Indians with possession of the ball from the previous quarter. The first play of the quarter would see Brasher scramble for a huge gain to put the Indians in Tiger territory.
Ackerman would get the first score of the game a couple of plays later as Brasher hit Bradley for a 26-yard pass for a touchdown around the 10 minute mark of the quarter. The Indians would go for a two-point conversion that was no good, making the score 6-0.
On their next possession, Noxapater would find themselves in the same situation they had been facing all night, not being able to get their offense going. They would be forced to punt the ball back to the Indians.
Feeling the confidence of scoring and getting their momentum going, the Indians would again start moving the ball on the Noxapater defense. With around seven minutes left in the quarter, Brasher would again find Bradley in the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown pass to increase the Ackerman lead to 12-0. A failed two-point conversion by the Indians would leave the score 12-0.
The Tigers would not be able to score before the end of the quarter, and the Indians would go on to their first win of the season. Leading the way for the Indians offensively was Brasher, who led the team in rushing with 73 yards to go with his 83 passing yards and two passing touchdowns.
Bradley led the team in reception yards with 61 to go with two touchdowns. Brown finished the night with 12 carries for 36 yards, while Cody Harris had 7 carries for 38 yards.
The Indians’ next challenge will be a non-division game against Class 3A Winona. These two teams met up last season with the Tigers defeating the Indians in a close 34-28 game.
Kickoff for this game will be this Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Ackerman.