Jr. Bulldogs rally to stop Dresden, remain unbeaten
Sara Reid — Special to the Weakley County Press
The Dawgs trailed late in the fourth quarter to the Dresden Middle School Lions, but a Chris Copeland touchdown with just a shade over two minutes remaining and an Ian Legens interception with just seconds left on the clock sealed the win for the visitors, 28-22, this past Thursday night to spoil the host Lions’ homecoming.
The Lions took the kickoff and, with the exception of one play, held possession for the entire first quarter. Dresden found immediate success in its running game and gained 13 yards up the middle from Joey Caldwell on the first play from scrimmage. Dillon Jolley carried ahead for three and Gleason was penalized for jumping offsides, which pushed the Lions ahead five more yards.
Caldwell picked up 10 yards on two carries, but Copeland and Tanner Trevathan converged to stop Jolley for no gain and Colter Swafford gained nothing on a keeper. Facing fourth-and-long, Swafford completed a pass to Austin Daniel for nine yards and picked up six yards on two straight carries.
Down at the Gleason 19, Jolley fell forward for two yards and Swafford gained five. Jolley was stopped for no gain, but Caldwell took a handoff five yards to the 7-yard line. Swafford’s pass to Daniel missed the first time, but on fourth-and-five, Daniel snatched the pass in the left corner of the end zone for the touchdown. Swafford ran in the conversion and Dresden nabbed an 8-0 lead with 29.4 seconds left in the first quarter.
The only play of the first frame for Gleason was a Will Clark seven-yard run, but Chase Ezell opened up the second quarter with a 23-yard gain. Ezell picked up just a yard on his next carry, but Legens swept around the right side for 10 yards. Copeland gained seven around the right side to put the Dawgs into the red zone. Though they were pushed back on a penalty, the visitors found the end zone on a 22-yard pass from Trevathan to Reese Montgomery. Legens added the conversion and with 5:34 left before the half, the score was tied, 8-8, but the momentum continued to swing back and forth.
Starting on its own 42, Dresden gained nothing on first down on a Ben Kendall carry. Kendall picked up 24 yards on his next three carries, however, and Swafford took a keeper nine yards. The Lions were pushed back 10 yards on a penalty, but Swafford dashed through tackles for a 30-yard touchdown run on second and long. Kendall added the conversion and Dresden regained the lead, 16-8.
Gleason went back to work with Legens leading the charge. He gained 14 around the right side, but lost three on his next carry. He picked up 16 on his next two carries and after being aided by a personal foul penalty against the Lions, ran the final 12 yards for the score. The conversion failed on a fumble and Dresden held a 16-14 lead into the break.
The Bulldogs had possession to open the second half and Ezell picked up 11 yards on first down. Clark gained five up the middle, Dresden was flagged with an offsides penalty and Copeland ran for a huge 22-yard gain down to the Dresden 19. Ezell gained six up the middle and Legens ran for 13 around the right corner and into the end zone. The conversion failed again, but the visitors took their first lead of the game, 20-16, with 5:32 left in the third.
Dresden held possession for the remainder of the quarter and through steady ground gains, began the final frame at the Gleason 36. Swafford picked up four and Caldwell gained two on first down. Kendall carried ahead for eight and the first down, and Jolley ran for four down to the Gleason 17.
Caldwell carried around the right side for 12 and Dresden took two plays to punch in the final five and the score on a three-yard run by Swafford. The conversion failed, but Dresden jumped ahead 22-20 with 5:58 left in the contest.
Gleason used just two backs — Copeland and Clark — on its next series and faced third-and-long from the Dresden 35. Dresden was flagged with a personal foul on a late hit, however, and Gleason was handed renewed hope.
From the Dresden 12, Clark gained six yards on two carries and Copeland ran in the six-yard touchdown. He tacked on the conversion and with 2:24 left in the game, the visitors took a 28-22 lead.
Starting on their own 45, the Lions picked up nine yards from Caldwell and one from Swafford for the first down. Caldwell ran for three and Kendall got seven and the first down, but on second-and-long from the 37, Swafford’s pass which looked to be headed for Caleb Davidson and the end zone was picked off by Legens. Gleason took a knee and a victory in a hard-fought battle that looked to be anybody’s from the start.
Gleason next travels to Dyer and Dresden has a road game against Henry.