A playoff spot secured, Tyner coach Wayne Turner is working for position.
After three straight unfavorable early-round matchups -- including last year's trip to Alcoa -- Turner's Rams knew the stakes in Friday's trip to Howard.
"We were probably in either way," Turner said after his team's 41-21 District 6-AA win, "but we needed this one. After the last couple of weeks, we needed some breaks and the ball bounced our way a little bit tonight."
Tyner made its breaks and made the most of the breaks offered. The Rams (6-3, 4-2) jumped to a 21-0 lead behind two impressive drives sandwiched around Lamonte Solomon's 27-yard fumble return for a score.
"We kind of ran into the buzz saw there at the start," Howard coach Michael Callaway said. "They hit some big plays on us and we turned it over early. That really hurt."
An efficient opening drive put Tyner on top for good when Courtney Hood scored on an 8-yard run. Hood capped an eight-play, 70-yard drive that was keyed by a 36-yard pass from Tony Walton to Jarrett Watson on third-and-11. After Solomon's score on the next offensive snap, Tyner running back Joseph Sturkey covered 43 yards to extend the lead.
Reeling from the three scores in less than nine minutes, Howard responded. The Hustlin' Tigers (2-7, 2-4) scored on a four-play drive that was highlighted by quarterback Terrance Brooks' 19-yard scramble and his 46-yard pitch-and-catch to receiver Chris Walton.
"We got started pretty good early, but they responded," Turner said. "We played a little more consistent this week than we have the last couple."
With a large Howard homecoming crowd itching to get involved after Brooks' touchdown, Tyner delivered. Haasan Miller returned the kickoff 60 yards, and another big pass play -- Walton found Sadik Spence for 38 yards on first-and-23 -- set up Solomon's 1-yard touchdown.
"They hit the deep ball down there," Callaway said, "we can't give that up."
LaWayne Ruffin scored on a 14-yard run around the left end to cut the lead to 28-14. After a scoreless thrird quarter, the deeper Rams wore down Howard and pulled away with power and another good break. Miller's 13-yard run extended the lead to 35-14, and after Spence ran 25 yards, guard Malik Bridge fell on a loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown.
Walton added a cosmetic score in the final minute by turning a swing pass into a 66-yard touchdown. He finished with 155 receiving yards on seven catches.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...