Donoho done in by costly mistakes
by Richard Lee
Aug 31, 2013 | 2036 views |  0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ANNISTON — Donoho’s Justin Foster pounded his fist hard into the turf, let out an exasperated scream and slowly pulled himself up to reluctantly walk back to his team’s sideline.

It was symbolic of a long, frustrating night for Foster and the Falcons on Friday.

Moments earlier, Foster couldn’t haul in Chris Carr’s last-gasp, fourth-down pass near the goal line in the waning moments of the Falcons’ 20-12 loss to Valley Head at Lentz Field. All that was left was one more snap and a kneel-down for Valley Head to clinch a season opening victory. It also exacted a little revenge after last year’s heartbreaking loss to Donoho.

“I’m proud of the fact we played hard for the entire game,” Donoho head coach Shannon Felder said. “But at the same time, I’m disappointed we had so many mistakes.”

The Falcons were undone by costly penalties, untimely turnovers and the inability to slow down the three-headed monster better known as the Valley Head rushing attack.

The Tigers rushed for 219 yards on 43 carries, controlling the clock and the line of scrimmage. And while the Donoho offense showed flashes of brilliance at times — especially Carr in his new role as starting quarterback and Foster as a running back/wide receiver combo — it was ultimately done in by too many mistakes.

“We’ve had a lot of time to prepare for this team,” Felder said. “We knew they would come in ready to play. We knew it would be a physical game. It was all of that.”

It was a sequence near the end of the first half that cost Donoho the most.

Tied 6-6, Valley Head took over on its own 3-yard line. From there, the Tigers marched to the Donoho 9 in just over four minutes, setting up first-and-goal.

After two failed runs and an incomplete pass, the Tigers went for it on fourth down with 22 seconds on the clock before the half. Donoho’s defense held, tackling Valley Head wideout Johnathon Cuzzort just shy of the end zone on the 1-yard line.

However, on the ensuing play after the Falcons gained possession, Carr’s quarterback sneak with 13 seconds until halftime was stuffed at the line and ultimately resulted in a safety giving Valley Head an 8-6 lead at the half.

“We had a bad exchange between the quarterback and the center,” Felder said. “That gave them the momentum going into the half.”

Valley Head capitalized on that momentum at the outset of the second half, scoring on its second possession of the half, courtesy of Benjamin Kirby’s 74-yard scoring strike to Cuzzort to make it 14-6.

Donoho answered with a touchdown of its own, cutting the score to 14-12 as Carr found Foster in the corner of the end zone on a 25-yard scoring pass.

From there, however, Valley Head drove 47 yards, getting two key fourth-down conversions along the way, to score on a 21-yard pass from Kirby to Frederick Jenkins on fourth-and-nine with 10:10 to play.
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