COLUMBUS – For the East Oktibbeha Titans, the road to the playoffs just got a lot harder.
The Titans fell to Class A, Region 3, District 4 rival West Lowndes 14-0 Friday night at Panther Field.
The Titans are now 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the district, while the Panthers improved to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in district play.
"It all but eliminated us," East Oktibbeha head coach Randy Brooks said. "Too many things are going to have to happen for us to make the playoffs. We are going to have to win all of our remaining games and hope that the people ahead of us can come up with two losses. That is a steep mountain to climb."
The game was dominated by defense, turnovers and penalties.
Midway through the second quarter West Lowndes faced a 4th-down and 10 from the Titan 20-yard line.
They went for it and put the ball in the air. The ball fell to the ground, but East Oktibbeha was called for defensive pass interference on a controversial call.
"That was a big momentum (killer)," Brooks said.
Three plays later West Lowndes quarterback Justin Stevenson punched it in from 2 yards out. The Panthers lined up for a field goal, but the Titans jumped offsides.
Instead of trying the kick again, West Lowndes coach Anthony King sent out his offense and Stevenson darted around Titans to give the Panthers an 8-0 lead with 6:35 to go in the second quarter.
The Titans had their chance late in the fourth quarter. East Oktibbeha forced a turnover a Panther punt and took over at its own 25-yard line. A bad pitch by Titan quarterback Justin Williams led to a fumble.
West Lowndes tackle Breshon Brooks scooped it up and returned it 22 yards for a score to all but end the game with under 6 minutes to go in the game.
"Our offensive line did not do their job," Brooks said. "I am deeply disappointed in our offense. This game was there for the picking."
East Oktibbeha's defense kept the game in reach. They forced three turnovers, but the offense couldn't capitalize.
"Our defense stayed on the field too long," Brooks said. "We were on the field all night long. We got plenty of turnovers for the offense and we didn't take advantage of the opportunities given to us, offensively."
East Oktibbeha has a bye week next week and host defending Class A State champions Noxapater in two weeks.