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Saints struggle in tough jamboree action

The 2003 Selma High Saints took on two powerhouse gridiron programs in the Demopolis High School jamboree Thursday night.

Facing top-notch competition, the Saints fell 20-0 and 35-7.

Against 2002 class 4A semifinalist Demopolis, coach Woodrow Lowe Jr.’s young Saints self-destructed early by turning the ball over on their first three possessions. Each led to touchdowns for the host Tigers.

After gaining a first down on the tough inside running of sophomore Stephen Woods, Tiger standout Dontrell Miller stepped in front of a receiver on an inside screen pass from Cajun Pritchett and raced 60 yards untouched for a touchdown.

On Selma’s next possession, Demopolis’ Rock Jones recovered a fumbled pitch.

Three plays later, Tiger quarterback Devin Goodwin found a wide open receiver down the left sideline for a 53-yard touchdown pass.

Goodwin was good on one of two PAT’s for a 13-0 score at 4:44 of the first quarter.

On first down, Goodwin recovered another loose ball on the Saint 33-yard line.

Miller picked up 23 yards on two carries before Goodwin connected with Jonathan Summers in the left flat for a 10-yard touchdown.

Goodwin’s PAT was true for a 20-0 score.

Demopolis’ defense stifled Selma the rest of the half as the jittery Saints continued to mishandle the football.

On defense for the Saints, Conner Childers, Jerel Belton, and Jeremy Carter all stood out.

Childers, a sophomore, disrupted numerous plays in the Tiger backfield, forcing two fumbles, one recovered by Belton.

Duante King had a good night punting averaging 38 yards per punt.

Following a brief intermission, the Saints battling the heat and fatigue, took on a fresh Thomasville High squad coming off of a 9-3 2002 season that included a second round playoff appearance.

Thomasville started out strong as Aaron Johns, a University of Alabama commitment, went 56 yards for a touchdown on the first play of scrimmage.

After Selma failed to convert a first down on fourth and one, the Tigers fullback rumbled 71 yards for another score and a 14-0 lead with 8:06 remaining in the opening stanza.

The strong, quick Clarke County squad continued to rely on its solid ground game by driving 35 yards in four plays for a 21-0 score.

From there the Tigers mixed the run and pass to add two more scores.

Coach Lowe may have found a running back to carry the load as sophomore Tedrick Cleveland carried the pigskin eight times for 80 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown around left end.

Childers continued to impress on defense forcing two more fumbles and recording numerous tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

Despite coming up on the short end of the scoreboard, Lowe said his team battled hard.

“That’s what we were looking for in this scrimmage,” he said.

“Our staff didn’t get in during the spring practice period, so we’re still working on conditioning.&uot;

The Saints host crosstown rival Southside High School Friday night at Memorial Stadium in the season opener for both teams.

Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.

“We’ll go back and game plan for Southside and try to get our six starters we held out tonight healthy by game time,” Lowe said.