The Athens Review
KEMP — Big Tex wasn't alone in meeting a fiery demise Friday.
Racing out to a turnover-injected 56-0 halftime lead, the Malakoff Tigers torched the Kemp Yellowjackets for a 70-8 District 7-2A victory to solidify their chances for an unprecedented fourth straight playoff appearance.
Kemp, which suffered an 18th straight loss, was its own worst enemy against the Tigers, who had no resemblance of a team needing help. The Yellowjackets (0-7, 0-3) lost five fumbles in the first half, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
The Tigers set the tone for the game on the opening kickoff when Jacob Neal made a bone-jarring tackle on Jordan Rodriguez and caused a fumble, which was recovered by Marcus Dowell. Malakoff scored on its first play – a 23-yard pass from Tate Taylor to Stephan Wolfe.
Dowell had a big night for the Tigers. In addition to the fumble recovery, he scored on runs of one, 19, six and 21 yards. His one-yard scoring plunge, was the Tigers' second touchdown at the end of a 60-yard drive – 54 of which belonged to Damontes Dowell on the first play.
Cesar Garcia, who booted nine PATs, and Taylor teamed up to to tackle Kemp punter Blake Watkins, who had to retrieve a high snap, on the Yellowjackets' one-yard line to set up the next Malakoff score. Dowell crashed in for the touchdown.
Kemp's next punt also resulted in points for the Tigers. This time, Brandon Davis knocked the ball loose from Watkins and Garcia picked it up and ran it in from three yards out.
Fourth-year Malakoff head coach Jamie Driskell reached into his bag of tricks for the next Malakoff score. Damontes Dowell took the snap and pulled up to connect with Terrance Scott for a 40-yard scoring strike.
Israel Chavez returned a Kemp fumble 40 yards to the Kemp five-yard line to put the Tigers in position for a six-yard Taylor scoring scamper.
Marcus Dowell caused a fumble on Kemp's next possession, which led to his second touchdown.
The next time the Yellowjackets had the ball, Garrian McCallister scooped up a fumble and raced 40 yards for a touchdown to give the Tigers their 56-0 halftime lead.
The Tigers ran just 17 plays in the first half.
The Yellowjackets finally got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter on a one-yard run by quarterback Corey Watkins. Watkins ran in the two-point conversion.
Malakoff capped the scoring with a pair of Marcus Dowell touchdowns, the second of which was set up by a Davis fumble recovery.
The second half was played with a non-stopping clock.
Malakoff, which leads the overall series with Kemp 25-11, improved to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in district.
The Tigers' 70 points matched the second most in a game in school history.