Playoff bound: Donoho clinches with rout of TCC

Oct. 7—Handshakes awaited Jeremy Satcher as the final seconds ticked off of Donoho's playoff-clinching rout Thursday, but he wanted hugs first.

The Falcons' first-year head coach, hugged all of his assistants one by one ... Trevekio Roberts, Denzel Roberts, Dylan Jones and Karl Harris.

Then came those sweet words Satcher shared with the Falcons, who had just completed that 48-14 rout of Talladega County Central on Lentz Field.

"We made a goal of getting in the playoffs, and guess where you are now," Satcher said. "We're in the playoffs!"

The top four finishers in each region make the playoffs, and Donoho (4-3) improved to 3-2 in Class 1A, Region 6 with one region game to play. The Falcons have the head-to-head tiebreaker on Winterboro (1-2 region) by virtue of their 28-20 victory there a week ago. They also beat Victory Christian (1-3) as part of their three-game winning streak.

The playoff berth will mark Donoho's first since the Falcons made it in 2018 and 2019 under previous head coach Mark Sanders. It comes after Donoho won three combined games in 2020 and 2021.

"This is crazy," running back/linebacker Lucas Elliott said. "The fact we're here from the summer, from the past years, is just crazy."

Elliott has known deep playoff runs as part of Donoho's baseball team, including a semifinal run this past spring and a state-runner-up finish in 2021.

Wide receiver/kicker Logan Melton is used to making the playoffs in soccer, but he soaked in his first chance in American football.

"I haven't done this in my high school career, so this feels good, for the first time," he said.

Elliott and Melton had big hands in clinching the playoff berth.

Elliott rushed for 189 yards, including touchdown runs of 65, 19 and 15 yards. He also caught a 31-yard touchdown pass.

Quarterback Will Folsom completed seven of nine passes for 153 yards and four touchdowns ... 15 and 24 yards to Melton, 56 yards to Jordan Cameron and 31 yards to Elliott.

Melton also kicked six of seven extra points.

Almost all of their production came in the first half, as Donoho built a 48-8 halftime lead. The Falcons played younger players on a running clock in the second half.

That Donoho would dominate TCC (0-7, 0-4) was predictable, but the celebration of a playoff berth still felt sweet.

"It feels great," Satcher said. "The boys really accomplished something they set their minds to. I'm proud of them and just excited for them really.

"It was just belief and hard work."

Asked what can still be accomplished, Melton went into soccer striker mode and took his shot.

"Oh, maybe a state championship?" he said. "That's what everyone wants to do, so."

TCC had its moments. Junior Dosius rushed for touchdowns of 60 and 65 yards en route to 156 yards rushing on the night. Quarterback Javari McKenzie accounted for 34 total yards and had a 45-yard kickoff return.

"We didn't come out in the first half with any type of energy or any type of fight," TCC coach Acardia Garrett said. "They just had more fight than we did, and they were just the better team tonight.

"We've struggled all year with young kids and trying to get them acclimated into football more than they are. We're trying to make progress."

Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.