Tide to host St. Louis Catholic in first round playoff game
The Minden Crimson Tide went into Friday night's game against Northwood riding high, with a four game winning streak and undefeated in district.
However, the Falcons were the team that came out on top after scoring in the final two minutes and then went for the win with the two-point conversion to beat Minden, 36-35.
Northwood won the toss and took the ball to start the game. The Falcons wasted no time in quieting the Minden faithful by completing a 36-yard pass on their first play from scrimmage. Four plays later, they crossed the goal line and took the early lead.
After trading possessions, the Tide got the ball in great field position after a terrible Falcon punt. The offense then struck fast to get back into the game.
Quarterback Turner Francis completed a beautiful pass to Jared Johnson, who worked the ball down the field, almost scoring. Minden then tried the run, but Derek Herrington was stopped in the backfield. From the four, Cortavious Rice got the call and took the ball around the left end to find the end zone. The point after was denied, leaving the home team behind, 7-6.
The Tide defense held the Northwood offense, and Minden started their best drive of the night at midfield.
The Tide mixed the plays well on the drive, rushing four times, and passing six times. Francis was five for six on the drive, completing key passes to Johnson and Herrington. Rice rushed for 23 yards to get down to the ten-yard line. The score came on a pass from Francis to Johnson, who made the catch by reaching completely over the Northwood defender. Ronald Richard added the two-point conversion, and the lead was seven.
Again, the defense stood tall, allowing Northwood only one first down before forcing a turnover on downs at the Minden 47.
Francis then called on Johnson again. Francis dropped straight back and dropped the ball into Johnson's hands at the line of scrimmage. Johnson caught the ball in stride, running across the middle of the field, got a couple of key blocks, and broke the play to the outside. He would be untouched the rest of the way, giving the Tide a 13-point lead, but the point after was blocked.
A penalty on the previous play led to the Tide kickoff from their own 25. On the return, Minden was again penalized for a personal foul. The two penalties hurt, as Northwood started their drive from the Tide 39. Seven plays later, the Falcons scored.
An interception return for a touchdown would end the scoring for the half, giving Northwood a slim 21-20 lead at intermission.
After the half, the teams traded possessions to start the quarter.
Northwood was held to three downs deep in their own territory, and after a 37-yard punt to the Tide 41, Herrington almost scored after taking the kick down the right sideline for 47 yards. A lone Falcon player saved the score by pushing Herrington out of bounds at the 12. Rice took it from there, busting through a wide hole up the middle to the end zone to put the Tide back on top. Richard again converted the two pointer, and the lead was back to seven.
The Falcons then went on their best drive of the evening, going 63 yards in eleven plays, helped out by two Tide pass interference penalties. Early in the fourth quarter, the score was again tied, this time at 28.
After the teams traded fumbles, Minden had the ball at their own 15, looking for the go-ahead score. Rice would once again take things into his hands. He took the handoff and ran off-tackle. Several good blocks later, he was in the open field, and no one was going to catch him. The best run of the night put the Tide back out in front, and Sam Shoemaker added the point after for a seven point cushion.
DJ Wallace stopped the next Northwood drive with an interception, but Minden couldn't extend their drive and only ran off three minutes of the clock.
The Falcons drove the next 88 yards in three minutes to score again, aided by another Tide pass interference penalty on third down. The score brought the Falcons to within one, and instead of going for the tie and overtime, Northwood decided to go for broke, and made it look easy, as Collin Brantley eased in for the conversion and the lead.
Minden was not through and Richard gave the team good field position with a 16 yard kick return. With 1:38 and two timeouts, the Tide had plenty of time to score.
The first pass to Herrington was incomplete. On second down, a screen pass to Rice gained five yards. After a Tide timeout, a minute and 20 seconds was left on the clock, but a third down try to Richard was incomplete. On fourth down and five, with one timeout and a minute and 10 seconds left, Minden attempted to go for it all instead of the first down, but the pass fell harmlessly away, ending all hope of a comeback.