Elba Tigers roar past Central 62-34 for Homecoming

Ricky Mularz
Sports Editor

Thursday, Oct 12,2017

The Elba Tigers gave a large homecoming crowd plenty to cheer about Friday night as they ran over the Central Lions 62-34, in a key region contest, at Tiger Stadium.
Elba received the opening kickoff and gave the fans a preview of things to come as the Tigers marched 72 yards in four running plays to get on the scoreboard. Devorian Wilkerson gained 47 yards on just two carries and scored the first touchdown of the night on a 36-yard scamper, and although a two-point conversion failed to produce points, Elba was on top 6-0 with 10:27 remaining in the opening stanza.
Elba regained possession at its own 39-yardline following a Central punt and this time went 61 yards in three running plays to add to its lead. Byron Johnson gained 39 yards on two carries and scored the Tiger touchdown on a 26-yard dash, and Xavier Florent ran in the two-point conversion as Elba’s lead grew to 14-0 with 6:17 left in the quarter.
Elba began its third offensive series of the night at its own 20-yardline after another punt and covered the 80 yards to the endzone in nine running plays to continue its assault on the Lions defense. Devorian Wilkerson gained 35 yards on four carries and scored the Tiger touchdown on a 7-yard run, while Charvez Hill bulled over for the two-point conversion as Elba upped its lead to 22-0 with 44-seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Central surprised the Tigers on its ensuing possession and got on the scoreboard on a 58-yard pass on fourth down and one from Keegan Blackman to Justin Taylor to pull within 22-6 with 10:43 left in the second quarter. However, the sudden Lion score had no impact on the Elba offense as the Tigers continued to run up and down the field and by the end of the half were in complete command with a lopsided 40-6 advantage!
The Tigers fourth touchdown of the half came following a 68-yard march that again came entirely on the ground. An apparent 32-yard touchdown run by Richmon Singletary was nullified by a penalty, but it only delayed the next Elba score as Xavier Florent rushed for 47 yards on five carries during the long scoring drive and capped the drive with a 5-yard run up the middle for a touchdown. Byron Johnson ran in the two-point conversion, and with 5:07 left in the quarter the Tigers lead was up to 30-6.
Elba added a safety to up its lead to 32-6 with 3:55 remaining in the quarter when the Central quarterback was flagged for intentional grounding while scrambling in the endzone, and the Tiger lead ballooned to 40-6 with 3:09 left when Richmon Singletary capped a 42-yard, two-play drive, with a 2-yard scoring run, and Singletary passed to Kendre Jordan for the two-point conversion.
Central received the second half kick and went 68 yards in six plays to get back into the endzone. A 35-yard pass from Blackman to David Baldwin got the scoring drive off to a fast start, while he touchdown came on a 10-uard run by Blackman. Blackman passed to Diontavious Holcombe for the two-point conversion, as Central cut the deficit to 40-14 with 6:35 left in a shortened third quarter.
Elba began its ensuing possession at the Central 33-yardline after a 51-yard kickoff return by Richmon Singletary, and three plays later the Tigers were right back in the endzone. The score came on a 35-yard dash up the middle by Devorian Wilkerson, and Singletary passed to Jordan for the two-point conversion, as Elba’s lead grew to 48-14 with 5:10 left in the quarter.
Central covered 56 yards in six plays to score on its next possession, with the touchdown coming on a 22-yard pass from Blackman to Malek Hill. The Blackman to Hill combo was also successful on the two-point conversion, and with 2:45 left in the third quarter the Tigers lead stood at 48-22.
The Elba reserves had little luck against the Central defense on the Tigers next two series, and the Lions took advantage of a Tiger turnover to score their fourth td of the night. The score came on a 17-yard pass from Blackman to Hill, and while a two-point pass missed its target, the Tigers lead was down to 48-28 with 4:45 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers starters came back on the field following the Central score and needed only one play to end the Lions comeback hopes, as on first down Xavier Florent broke loose and raced 54 yards for a touchdown. Devorian Wilkerson ran in the two-point conversion and with 4:20 left on the clock Elba’s lead was up to 56-28.
Central’s offense continued to light up the scoreboard on its ensuing possession as the Lions faked a punt and scored on a 69-yard td toss from Blackman to Baldwin. The two-point try failed, but the scoreboard had changed again with the Tigers now on top 56-34.
Elba began its final possession of the night at its own 35-yardline and the Tigers went 65 yards in five plays to score the final points of the game. Gavin Caldwell scored the Tiger touchdown on a 39-yard sprint up the sidelines with 10-seconds left on the clock, and while a two-point run failed to reach the goalline, Elba had put the finishing touch on a wild 62-34 win.
Xavier Florent gained 197 yards on 15 carries and scored 2 touchdowns to spark the Elba offense, while Devorian Wilkerson added 134 yards and 3 td’s on 8 carries and Byron Johnson added 112 yards and 1 td on 11 carries.
Keegan Blackman completed 13 of 27 passes for 273 yards ad 4 td’s and also scored one touchdown rushing to account for all the Central points, while David Baldwin pulled in 3 passes for 129 yards and one td and Justin Taylor had 3 catches for 94 yards and one td.

Photo: ELBA TIGER ROADBLOCK.... Elba Tiger Thomas Ford (59) blocks the path of a Central Lions runner. The Tigers improved their record to 6-1 last week with a 62-34 win over Central, in region action.