DAWSON -- While his team led Randolph Southern, 7-0, at halftime, Terrell Academy coach Bill Murdock urged the Eagles step it up.
Disappointed by admittedly bad clock management after Terrell blew a chance to go up, 14-0, right before halftime from inside the Patriots' 5, Murdock issued the
The Eagles' Cole Phillips and Cole Byrd responded by not only pushing Terrell toward a momentum-turning touchdown, they also played a big part in their 21-0 win which secured a second outright GISA Region 3-A championship in a row.
"This is really big for the school and the program," said Murdock, whose team shared a region title in 2006 and '07.
During the eight-play drive, Byrd rushed for 38 yards, and Phillips accounted for the final 30, including a 4-yard rush for a touchdown. For the game, Byrd rushed for 177 yards and a TD, and Phillips finished with 94 yards passing.
After winning Friday, Terrell Academy stays at home next Friday, hosting Bethesda Day at 7:30 p.m.
What stood out to Murdock about after the win against Randolph Southern were the tough runs by Byrd to open the third quarter. During his four runs of that drive, Byrd averaged 9.5 yards per carry with the final one gaining 12.
"Cole's a football player," Murdock said. He's only like 150 pounds, but he ran hard upfield, inside and out. He did it all."
The celebration was a familiar one for the Eagles, who also clinched last season's outright title with a 26-point win on the road.
"We came out and showed heart," said Byrd, who scored from 6 yards out for the game's final TD in the fourth quarter. "We kept fighting until the end."
Byrd said he could feel that desire grow once Terrell earned a double-digit lead.
"It made us more confident and began to put some doubt in their mind, I think," Byrd said.
It was Randolph Southern, however, which seemed to have all the confidence during its opening drive. Quarterback Loy DeVane and running back Jon-Jon Holbrook ran the ball effectively, with only the Eagles' Colby Blackburn able to keep Holbrook from scoring on his second carry of the game.
The Patriots' offense, however, lost its momentum while facing fourth-and-inches from the Eagles' 29. Planning to go for it, a false-start whistle was blown. Opting to try a FG, the attempt sailed wide left.
"That hurt us," Griggs said of the penalty. "We just couldn't contend with Terrell's speed. They have so much speed on defense. They are a very well-coached football team."
Terrell Academy, which also struggled late during its first drive, led, 7-0, after a 10-yard touchdown run by J.B. Jones. Another strong Patriots drive after that ended on a whimper at the Eagles' 17 when Nick Beaver pressured DeVane, causing him to throw an interception by Jones.
Then, after Levi Griffin recovered a fumble late in the second quarter, a 28-yard pass from Phillips to Hogan Skandamis jump-started Terrell's final threat to score before halftime. On second-and-goal from the 1, the Randolph Southern defense sacked Phillips. Then, after a delay-of-game call backed Terrell to the 8, a fourth-and-6 pass was broken up.
The halftime dejection from not scoring did not last long, however, thanks to Byrd and Phillips. Now, the Eagles are once again celebrating a region title.
"It feels good to win this outright twice in a row," Phillips said. "A lot of people said we wouldn't be able to do it. That's what makes it feel good to win again."
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