October 17, 2020
By: Dwayne Page
The DeKalb County Tigers clinched an historic regular season football championship of Class 4A Region 3 Friday night with a thrilling 24 to 20 come from behind win in the closing seconds of the game at Macon County.
Except for a meeting in two weeks against the winless Cumberland County Jets, DeKalb County has run the table at 3-0 in the region and owns the tiebreakers over both Macon County and Livingston Academy should the Tigers lose in the regular season finale at home against Crossville on October 30.
The moment is historic in that it’s the first region title for a DCHS Tiger football team in the school’s 57 year history. The distinction also assures the team of a first round home state play-off game in three weeks.
It wasn’t easy.
After playing to a scoreless tie through the first period, the Tigers grabbed the lead in the 2nd period and held onto it until late in the 4th quarter when Macon County scored a go ahead touchdown. But with 45 seconds left, DC completed a game winning scoring drive and then later stopped Macon County on a 4th down quarterback sack to seal the victory.
DeKalb County’s first score came on a 10 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Axel Aldino to Desmond Nokes, capping a 9 play 63 yard drive with 3:43 left in the 2nd period. Kicker Jasper Kleparek came on for the PAT and the Tigers led 7-0.
Macon County answered with 2:18 left in the 2nd period on a 9 yard touchdown run by Hunter Herron, capping a 60 yard drive. Cameron Houston failed to connect on the PAT but Macon County got on the board trailing DC 7 to 6.
On their next possession, the DC Tigers struck quickly as Aldino found Nokes on a pass play good for 60 yards and a touchdown with 2:03 left in the half. Kleparek added the extra point and DeKalb County took a 14-6 lead.
Macon County then mounted a 66 yard touchdown scoring drive which Quarterback Braydee Brooks completed on a 3 yard keeper to cut the DC lead to 14 to 12 after Macon County’s 2 point conversion attempt to tie the game failed with 6 seconds left before halftime.
Neither team scored in the 3rd period but in the 4th DeKalb County expanded its lead to 17-12 on a 34 yard field goal by kicker Jasper Kleparek.
Macon County then got the ball and drove down the field scoring on a 4 yard touchdown run to give them their first and only lead of the game. The 2 point conversion was good on a pass from Brooks to Herron and Macon County pulled ahead 20-17 with just over 3 minutes left in the game.
DeKalb County started its last drive of the night from its own 25 yard line and drove 10 plays before Aldino found Nokes on a 14 yard game winning touchdown scoring pass play with 45 seconds remaining on the clock. Kleparek knocked home the extra point and DeKalb County went on to win 24-20.
DeKalb County has an open date next Friday, October 23 but will complete the regular season at home against winless Cumberland County in two weeks on October 30. WJLE will have LIVE coverage.
Class 4A Region 3 standings and team records:
*DeKalb County: 6-3 (3-0)
*Macon County: 6-2 (2-1)
*Livingston Academy: 5-3 (2-1)
*Stone Memorial: 3-5 (1-3)
*Cumberland County: 0-8 (0-3)