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Thorsby falls in 1st round to Ariton

Thorsby’s record-setting season came to an end in the first round of the playoffs with a 41-14 defeat at the hands of the Ariton Purple Cats on Nov. 9.

The Rebels opened the scoring on their first possession of the game with a touchdown run from Christian Fortner.

Fortner also ran in the two-point conversion to put Thorsby up 8-0 early on.

However, the lead was short-lived, as Ariton began imposing their will on the ground.

It proved to be a bad matchup for the Rebels, who did not have the size along the defensive line to slow down Ariton’s running game.

“They just took it to us,” Thorsby head coach Daryl Davis said. “They ran it down our throat, and we couldn’t stop it.”

The Purple Cats scored six rushing touchdowns on the night, including four in the first half.

Lockhart tackles an Ariton ball carrier along the sideline. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

Jacob Lockhart ran back a kickoff return for a much-needed score that cut the deficit to two possessions as the Rebels trailed 26-14 at halftime.

Thorsby came out in the second half with a different approach offensively that focused on establishing the run to make up for the lack of big plays through the air.

“We just thought that we would try to give them some of what we were getting,” Davis said.

Ariton had a bye the last week of the regular season, while Thorsby played a physical game against Billingsley.

The bye allowed for an extra week of preparation prior to the playoffs for the Purple Cats.

It may take a couple of days or weeks for the players, especially the seniors, to get over the loss and appreciate all that was accomplished during the 2018 season.

“We had a great group,” Davis said. “This game doesn’t change the way that I feel about them. They’ll learn from it.”

It was Thorsby’s second-straight playoff appearance. The Rebels finished the season with a record of 9-2.