The Minden High Crimson Tide entered Friday night’s playoff game against Peabody with a prolific offensive attack featuring Antonio Rivette, Kolby Jackson and Rodtravion Rogers. The injury bug bit all three of them Friday, taking away the majority of the Tide’s firepower when they needed it most.
Minden gave Peabody its best shot, but the offense couldn’t overcome those losses as the Tide fell to the Warhorses 24-6 in a freezing first round playoff game.
It was not the way Minden head coach Spencer Heard hoped to finish such a successful season.
“Coming into the season we knew we were going to be young,” Heard said. “There were a lot of question marks, but throughout the course of the season we got better each week. I’m proud of the way the seniors led this team.”
Minden began the game trading defensive stops with Peabody as both teams struggled to get going early in the contest.
The Warhorses struck first on 31-yard touchdown pass that came on fourth down and 11. The Tide were beginning to move the ball when Rivette completed a deep ball to Tavarius Edwards down to the 14-yard line of the Warhorses, but while the rest of the Tide offense was running down the field for the next play, Rivette remained down writhing in pain. A few plays after he was helped off the field, Kolby Jackson went down with a similar injury, ending any chance the Tide had of matching the Warhorse offense.
“That was probably one of the most complete quarterbacks we’ve played all year,” Heard said of Peabody’s Sadrick Kirklin. “They were disciplined and aggresive on the offensive line. I still liked our chances if we could have stayed healthy.”
The Tide’s only touchdown on the night came when L’Jarius Sneed returned the opening kickoff of the second half all the way for an 86-yard score. Following that spark, Peabody answered with a quick touchdown drive to take back the momentum.
“It was a learning experience,” Heard said. “This was only the first round. I think we learned that we have to get better.”
The defense was the bright spot on the night for Minden. With the offense unable to move the ball and sustain long drives, the defense was on the field all night. Dekeltric Freelon picked off a Sadrik Kirklin pass in the second quarter, one of the Peabody quarterback’s only mistakes of the night.
“I thought the defense played really well,” Heard said. “I thought this group fought hard tonight.”
For 12 seniors, it was their final game to wear the Crimson Tide jersey.
“I want to express my appreciation to our seniors,” Heard said. “I thank them for their contributions and what they meant to this team. We’ll miss those guys.”
The Crimson Tide finish the season at 7-4 as co-champions of district 1-4A and will enter this offseason with 16 starters expected back for an even better run next year.
“We’ll take a day to do some housekeeping and then it’s right back to the weight room,” Heard said. “I feel like it’s going to be a fast offseason because now these kids and this community, there’s a buzz about this team.”