Vipers can’t stop Georgia from scoring
Wildcats post 68 points in handing Tennessee Valley 5th-straight loss
By Josh Cooper
HUNTSVILLE — Tennessee Valley Vipers coach Milt Theodosatos has the science of football down to one simple phrase.
“You either make plays,” Theodosatos said. “Or you don’t make plays. Or the other team steps up. Tonight, it was a little bit of both.”
It was that simple. The South Georgia Wildcats made enough of those “plays” to defeat the Vipers 68-65 on Saturday before 3,654 at the Von Braun Center.
The lost dropped the Vipers to 4-7 in the National South Conference, while South Georgia improved to 8-3.
According to Theodosatos, if Tennessee Valley wins its last five games, it will have a good shot at the playoffs.
He is remaining positive, but after five straight losses, a turnaround could be wishful thinking.
“We just have to keep fighting,” said quarterback Chris Gunn, a UNA graduate, who finished 18 of 36 for 317 yards and nine touchdowns. “We have to come back the next game.”
Gunn said before Saturday’s game, the team did not put too much pressure on itself and focused on not letting the other team get out to a fast start.
While the Vipers did not look tight, the Wildcats used a deft passing attack to jump out to a 42-31 halftime lead. Overall, Wildcats quarterback D. Bryant went 29 of 39 for 314 yards and eight touchdowns.
While Tennessee’s offense was solid in the first half — its only non-touchdown drives were a field goal, and a missed field goal. Its defense could not stop South Georgia.
In fact, it took the Vipers more than 46 minutes to stop the Wildcats from scoring.
With South Georgia leading 55-44, on the first drive of the fourth quarter James Gibson forced South Georgia running back Jason Null to fumble.
The Vipers quickly scored on a Gunn touchdown pass to Joel Babb to cut the lead to 55-52 with the two-point conversion.
And then it happened again as South Georgia turned the ball over on downs on its next possession.
Gunn found Travis Blanchard for a 22-yard strike with 8:07 remaining to give the Vipers their first lead at 59-55.
But directly after, it all fell apart for Tennessee Valley. Matt Jackson returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to give the Wildcats a 62-59 lead.
The Vipers fell deeper into a hole when Gunn was intercepted on the next drive. Three plays later South Georgia scored to give it a 68-59 advantage that the Vipers couldn’t come back from.
“It’s not abnormal for two arena teams to have a shootout,” Theodosatos said.
“At times it looked like it was too easy for them.”
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