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Turnovers Spell Doom For Indians
Saturday, 24 November 2012

Nov 23---Coming into the 2nd round game of the GHSA AA State Football Playoffs on Friday night at the Reservation the Vidalia Indians had turned the ball over just 13 times all season, but on this night the Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes scored 29 points off of seven Vidalia Indian turnovers and turned an 18-14 halftime lead into a 52-20 win, ending the Indian's season at 11-1.

The Indians got on the board first in the 1st quarter on a Tra Hardy 80 yard punt return to make the score 7-0 with 6:41 to go in the opening quarter. Fitzgerald would then pull within one, scoring on a 6-yard run by fullback Ron Swain, capping a 14 play 50 yard drive, to make it 7-6 following a missed PAT.

The Indians would answer right back on with an 11 play 63 yard drive of their own, when D.J. Mincey scampered 8 yards for the score and following a Dakota Paradice PAT the Indians led 14-6 with 7:57 left to go in the half. Fitzgerald would then drive the ball 61 yards in 8 plays, but the Indian defense would stiffen, forcing the Purple Hurricanes to kick a 22 yard field goal to make it 14-9 with 3:47 left to go in the half.

Vidalia could not do anything on their next possession and went 3 and out and were forced into a punting situation. That’s when things began to go downhill for the Indians as the snap to punter Nathan McLeod sailed over his head and was recovered by Fitzgerald at the Indian 21. Two plays later Larry Stewart was in the end zone and following a missed 2 point conversion Fitzgerald led 15-14. Things would only get worse for the Indians who fumbled on the 2nd play from scrimmage, which set up a 45 yard Chavez field goal to make it 18-14 as time expired in the half.

The Indians came out and held Fitzgerald on their first possession of the half, but after going 3 and out again, the Indians once again snapped the ball over McLeod’s head, this time out of the end zone for a safety to make it 20-14 with 9:59 to go in the 3rd quarter. Fitzgerald would get another Field Goal from Chavez on their next drive, this time a 36 yarder to give the Hurricanes a 23-14 lead.

Again on the next Indian possession the Indians could not move the ball and for the 3rd time on the night snapped the ball over McLeod’s head and out of the end zone for another safety to make it 25-14 with less than a minute to go in the half. From there it was all Fitzgerald, who got a 21 yard TD form Stedman Stephens, a 45 yard TD from Larry Stewart following an Indian interception and a 55 yard interception return for another score by Antonio Wilcox to make it 45-14. In all the Hurricanes scored 37 unanswered points in a span of 18 minutes.

The Indians would get a late score on a Nic McBride 21 yard pass reception to make it 45-20, and Fitzgerald would pick up 7 more on a Swain 2 yard run to make the final 52-20.

The Indians season ends at 11-1 and the 2AA Region Champions completed their first unbeaten regular season since 2004. The Indians will say goodbye to 21 seniors who compiled an overall record of 32-13 making it to the play-offs 3 out of their 4 years. Fitzgerald advances to the quarterfinals of the AA State Playoffs next week when they will travel to Jefferson to take on the Dragons who were 35-7 winners over Westminster.

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