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"I felt like the difference all night was up front. Their offensive and defensive lines were very well coached. Their athletic director told me after the game that it was the best group of linemen they have had at the school in a very long time," said Avery head football Darrell Brewer after the contest. "I think we hung around for a while, but they were a really good football team."
The Vikings never held the lead in the game, but tied the contest once and drew within less than a touchdown on three separate occasions throughout the game.
McDowell drew first blood with a 10-play, 57-yard touchdown drive, as Titans quarterback Grant Robinson called his own number for an eight-yard touchdown jaunt and a 7-0 MHS lead.
AHS immediately answered the drive with a six-play, 67-yard drive, capping the possession with a 23-yard run by Vikings quarterback Tre Jackson, knotting the game at 7-7 late in the period.
A key momentum swing occurred following the Vikings score, when Titans returner Jared Helms took the ensuing kickoff 88-yards for a touchdown, giving the lead back to McDowell. The Titans padded its lead early in the second period as running back Malique O'Neill scored the first of his two touchdowns in the game, an eight-yard scamper for a 20-7 MHS advantage.
Refusing to fold, the Vikings defense made a play, as defensive back Austin Robbie picked off a Robinson pass and returned it for a 25-yard touchdown. The Alex Magner extra point kick drew the Big Red within 20-14. McDowell was unphased following the score, driving 70 yards in nine plays to find paydirt again when wide receiver Johnny Cooper caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to give MHS the 26-14 lead at halftime.
Looking to bounce back from multiple lackluster second-half performances thus far this season, the Vikings struck quickly and effectively as Daniel Childress nabbed a 58-yard touchdown pass from Jackson on the first play from scrimmage to open the third period, cutting the lead to 26-21.
Late in the third period, McDowell returned to the end zone, taking just four plays to march 41 yards, with O'Neill's second scoring run returning the Titans lead to 12 points at 33-21.
On the first play of the final stanza, Avery scored following an eight-play, 73-yard drive, its longest of the contest. Running back Luke Childress bowled into the end zone from two yards out to draw the Vikings within 33-28 with a quarter remaining.
Avery made a break for itself on the ensuing kickoff, forcing a fumble and recovering at midfield to give itself an opportunity to take its first lead of the contest. The McDowell defense rose up to force an Avery punt, however, as the Vikings would get no closer in the game. The Titans expired 6:37 off the game clock with two scoring drives totaling 99 yards. Robinson scored on his second touchdown run, while teammate Trey Anderson plowed across the goal line from a yard out for the final Titans points of the game to provide the final margin.
McDowell chewed up 315 yards on the ground in the win, holding Avery to just 61 rushing yards. Avery committed only three penalties in the game, while McDowell committed 14 penalties for 119 yards.
Childress led Avery with 47 yards rushing and a score, while Jackson was 9-of-18 passing for 132 yards and a touchdown.
Avery opens Western Highlands Conference play this week with a matchup at Owen.