The Timberlake Tigers began the season with a win that came down to a defensive stand near the goal line.
Timberlake received the ball to start the game and capitalized on it, scoring on the fifth play when Ethan Jenlink connected with Merric Judd for the 25-yard touchdown pass. Jenlink added the two-point conversion, giving them the 8-0 lead with 10:50 left in the first quarter.
The Tiger defense forced a punt on Covington-Douglas’s first drive. The ball was downed at the Timberlake 4-yard line where they began the drive. Two plays later, Jenlink’s pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful and the Tigers still led 8-6 with 8:05 left in the quarter.
An interception by Jenlink and then a punt for Covington-Douglas highlighted the next two drives.
The Tigers began their drive on the Wildcats 48-yard line with 2:52 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers put together a six play drive that stretched 48 yards in a little under two minutes. The play ended when Jenlink scored on a 4-yard run. The pass attempt on the two-point conversion was no good and Timberlake led 14-6.
Two plays into the Wildcats next drive, the first quarter came to a close.
Covington-Douglas began the second quarter and 11 plays later, they scored on a 6-yard run. The two-point conversion was no good.
Timberlake was forced to punt on their next drive after two penalties.
Covington-Douglas scored in six plays on a 7-yard pass. The two-point conversion pass attempt was good and the Wildcats led 20-14.
The Tiger’s next drive started with 2:38 left in the quarter and they used all but 10 seconds of the clock on the drive, which ended with a JJ Pippin 4-yard touchdown run. Jenlink and Judd connected on the two-point conversion that gave the Tigers the two point lead.
Covington-Douglas had time for only one pass play before the half came to a close.
The Wildcats took the ball to begin the second half and nine plays later they scored on a 3-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion attempt was no good. The score pushed the lead back to Covington-Douglas.
Timberlake fumbled on the ensuing kick-off to give the ball back to the Wildcats.
Covington-Douglas utilized the turnover and scored on a six play drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run. The two-point pass conversion was good and the Wildcats led 34-22 with 7:39 left in the third quarter.
Timberlake began their next drive on their own 29-yard line and put together a drive that stretched 12 plays in over five minutes. The drive ended when Carter Sands ran in a 7-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion run by Jenlink was good and the Wildcat lead was cut to four points.
Timberlake needed big plays to push them back in the lead and with the next two Covington-Douglas drives they got just that when Dylan Schlup had back-to-back pick sixes. The first came with 1:22 in the third quarter. Jenlink added the two-point conversion to flip the lead in Timberlake’s favor.
The second came with 10:50 in the fourth quarter. Again Jenlink added the two-point conversion to give the Tigers the 12 point lead.
An onside kick by Timberlake with the Tigers recovering gave them the ball on Covington-Douglas’s 34-yard line. Five plays later Pippin scored on a 2-yard run. Jenlink connected with Cameron Brewer for the two-point conversion, giving the Tigers the 54-34 lead with 8:46 left in the quarter.
Covington-Douglas scored quickly on their next drive that took less than one minute. They ran in from the 4-yard line to score the touchdown. The two-point conversion was no good.
Timberlake’s next drive ended on a turnover on downs and then an interception by the Tigers gave Timberlake the ball back with 5:30 left on the clock and the 14 point lead.
Timberlake was able to run six plays and use over three minutes of clock before they had to punt the ball.
The Wildcats made quick work on their next drive and scored again in under one minute that stretched 85 yards. They ran in a 2-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion pass was successful, bringing the game to six points.
The ensuing kickoff was recovered by Covington-Douglas with 1:30 left in the ball game.
Covington-Douglas was able to move the ball down the field, but stalled on a fourth down attempt near the goal line giving the ball back to Timberlake with six seconds left on the clock.
The Tigers were able to kneel the ball and secure the 54-48 win.
The Tigers recorded 385 yards of offense on 71 plays. They were 12-23 passing for 144 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions and they rushed the ball 48 times for 241 yards.
The offensive stats were as follows:
• Jenlink: 12-22 for 144 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and 14 carries for 61 yards and one touchdown.
• Pippin: 28 carries for 156 yards and two touchdowns and seven carries for 55 yards.
• Sands: Four carries for 12 yards and one touchdown and one catch for 14 yards.
• Judd: Two carries for 12 yards and three catches for 57 yards and one touchdown.
• Brewer: One catch for 18 yards.
Timberlake Head Football Coach Brian Severin said, when asked about how his offense played, “The offense played well. There were times we missed some things. The passing game wasn’t sharp. We have some things to work on.”
The defensive stats were as follows:
• Jenlink: One unassisted.
• Dalton Leierer: Seven unassisted, two assisted and one pass broken up.
• Judd: 11 unassisted, six assisted, two passes broken up and one tackle for a loss.
• Pippin: Four unassisted, eight assisted, hit of the game, fumble recovery and one pass broken up.
• Schlup: Three unassisted, seven assisted and two interceptions returned for touchdowns.
• Cade Redding: Two unassisted and two assisted.
• Brewer: Four unassisted, three assisted and one interception.
• Sands: Three unassisted and one assisted.
• Colten Lormand: Two unassisted.
• Cade Severin: Two unassisted, three assisted and one pass block.
“Defense came up big when they had to. The two pick sixes saved us. We had some new kids at new spots that had to learn on the fly. We will get better,” Severin said.
The Tigers will travel to Ringwood at 7 p.m., Friday for the non-district matchup.
“Ringwood is pretty young this year. They will be quick, but not big. We will have to improve in areas to go down there to get a win,” Severin said.
His keys to victory are: cut down on some turnovers, see the offense get better, improve in other areas, limit penalties and get sharper in the passing game.