Kickoff of the 2016 regular season came Thursday night August 25th for the Chattooga Indians. Traveling to Cedar Bluff, Alabama to take on the Single A #3 ranked Tigers, the Indians were facing an opponent who made it to the Alabama state championship game last season and would be taking the field without star running back Isaiah Foster.
While many opponents may not have recognized #32 as an offensive weapon for the Indians, rest assured that the name Tyler Griffin has been echoed in more than one Region 7AA coach’s office this week. Coach Charles Hammon had no concerns about resting the knee of Isaiah Foster and starting Griffin. Last week in Fort Payne, Griffin proved that he could carry the load in the second half with Foster on the sideline. Griffin carried 11 straight times to sustain a scoring drive that bled the clock and secured the Indians’ victory.
In Cedar Bluff, Griffin amassed 135 yards rushing in the first quarter alone and answered everyone’s question of what would the Indians look like one Foster short. Drive after drive, Griffin pounded the ball and set up score after score. Averaging an eye-popping 11.5 yards a carry, Griffin rolled up 276 yards on 24 carries and punched in two touchdowns of his own. Griffin added another 10 yards on one reception and set up four short touchdown runs, three by Quintell Price and one by Isaac Foster.
When Griffin finally hit the sideline, the game was completely out of reach at 42-7 and the JV squad was ready for to finish the Tigers off. Isaac Foster was a perfect field general managing the game with deadly efficiency. Carrying the ball five times for 45 yards and one touchdown, Foster kept the Tiger defense guessing completing 4 of 5 passes for 64 yards. Junior CJ Martin hauled in 2 catches for 46 yards and banged in an extra point off of the left upright. Cam Perry broke up three passes on defense and made a drive sustaining reception on the Indian sideline. TJ Adams displayed concussion-like symptoms after a crushing blow destroyed his facemask. Adams received a medical checkup and was held out of contact practice all week. Adams is currently on the injured reserve list and is listed as unlikely for Friday’s game.
The Indians looked solid on both sides of the ball. The offensive line won the battle in the trenches and opened running lanes for every Indian ball carrier. Chattooga’s 448 yards rushing was a benchmark performance across the 7AA Region. Senior O-Linemen, Mike Adams, Elijah Neal, Jerison Patterson & Armand Ford have gelled with Junior, Dustin Pope to form a highly efficient offensive front for whichever ball carrier the Indians place in the backfield. The formidable front could be called the Breakfast Club with Pancakes being served across the board. Patterson led the way with 15 pancake blocks on the game, Pope close behind with 12 pancakes. Neal & Ford both contributed 9 pancakes apiece and Adams picked up another six. Grading out the Offensive line on overall performance, Neal (82%) and Pope (81%) were consistent and efficient. Ford and Adams (77%) both contributed to the total offensive output and the entire line seems to thrive off of the healthy competition to dominate at the line of scrimmage.
On the defensive side of the ball, it was Malachi Mack who stepped up to contain the Tiger’s quarterback run game. With 15 tackles, including two tackles for loss, Mack sealed up the quarterback keeper and was a key part of the Indian’s defense that limited Cedar Bluff to 168 yards rushing. The Tigers connected with a few big pass plays to tack on 91 yards through the air and Cedar Bluff’s only score on the night which came on a controversial reception late in the 2nd quarter.
The Indians kept the Tigers #3 ranked offense in check all night and, when the 4th quarter brought out the Indians’ JV squad, freshman quarterback, Quintavious Knox #37, handled the offense well and freshman tailback, Jamarious Mosteller #7, broke loose for a 71-yard TD run on just his second high school carry. Knox led the Indians to within scoring distance on a second drive with another freshman, fullback Alex Mears #20, rumbling for 8 yards to leave the Indians with a 1st and Goal and allowed Knox to finish the night with a few victory formation plays as a sign of respect and mercy for the home team. The JV also performed well on defense with a huge hit from sophomore linebacker, Jackson Lowenberg #9, and Knox delivering a blow that left himself dazed and sent the Tiger ball carrier to the sideline. Sophomore TJ Worsham delivered a punishing sack for a 7-yard loss and picked up his first interception of the season.
This week, the Indians will be taking on the Dawson County Tigers in non-region play. The Region 7AAA Tigers made it to AAA State Quarterfinals last season on the arm of returning junior quarterback, Coey Watson, who threw for over 2100 yards and 18 TD’s.
The game is set to be live streamed by All On Georgia through the YouTube channel, ALL ON GEORGIA CHATTOOGA!