The Many Tigers got the revenge they were seeking, defeating visiting West St. John 44-30 Friday night to eliminate the Rams from the Class 2A playoffs.
A year ago, West St. John upset top-seeded Many 34-30 in the second round of the playoffs. This time around, the Tigers, unbeaten and again the No. 1 seed beat WSJ, the No. 24 seed in the quarterfinals.
“We felt they would come with every chip they could find on their shoulder,” said West St. John coach Brandon Walters.
The loss ended the Rams’ season at 5-8.
“The kids fought hard and well. I can’t ask for any more. They poured their heart out into the game and they just came up short this time,” Walters said.
Many may have won, but it wasn’t easy for the Tigers.
West St. John trailed 21-14 to open the second half but gained a 22-21 lead on a 30-yard run by quarterback Austin Alexander and a two-point conversion less than two minutes in the third quarter.
The Tigers countered with a 9-yard run by Shacori Collier and a two-point conversion of their own to regain the lead at 29-22.
A 13-yard run by Kidric Gray and another two-point conversion at the 1:43 mark of the third quarter gave the Rams a 30-28 edge going into the final quarter.
Gray’s touchdown proved to be the last points for the Rams.
Meanwhile, a 32-yard pass from Shannon Sanders to Collier and a two-point conversion put Many on top 36-30 with 5:43 left in the game.
The Tigers sealed the victory with a 28-yard run by A.J. Carter and a two-point conversion with 1:33 left in the contest for the 44-30 final.
Alexander finished with 102 yards on 11 carries while Gray added 66 yards on eight attempts.
Collier had a big night for the Tigers with 240 yards on 28 carries.
The Tigers grabbed a 7-0 lead on a 55-yard pass from Sanders to Isaiah Smith.
West St. John countered with two touchdowns on a 30-yard run by Alexander and a 65-yard interception return by Jamal Walters for a 14-7 Rams lead.
A 2-yard run by Carter tied the game 14-14 before Sanders connected with Smith late in the second quarter to give the Tigers a 21-14 lead at halftime.