Breaks keep Dresden higher up prep poll than 1A West Carroll
Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 12:00 pm
By RANDY CAVIN
When two hot teams face off that are ranked and in the same district, it is going to be a game decided by the team that gets the breaks.
On Friday night, that team was Dresden.
The Class 2A second-ranked Lions got a big break with just 1:40 to go in the game in their 13-7 win over the Class 1A eighth-ranked West Carroll. Colter Swafford sealed the deal when he intercepted the War Eagles Jacob Wynn at the Dresden 20-yard-line.
The win gives the Lions sole possession of first place in District 13A at 3-0 and keeps the undefeated season intact at 7-0. The War Eagles, winners of five consecutive games, fall to 2-1 in the district and 5-2 overall.
“Colter had a really good game,” Lions’ head coach Keith Hodge said. “He did a great job on defense, and I thought he did good on offense. He has not had a lot of reps on offense this year, but we are slowly getting him in more and more.
“Colter really stepped up tonight. That is a great job and he is a heck of a player for us.”
Swafford stole the ball right from West Carroll’s Jacob Wynn grasp midway in the third quarter at the War Eagles 20-yard-line and took it the house for an apparent 80-yard fumble return for a touchdown. But, a clipping call at the Dresden 30 negated the TD, and the Lions took over at their own 45.
“You cannot do things like that,” Hodge said. “That was 20 yards behind the play. You have got to play smart and not give teams more chances than they are going to get. You cannot give chances away like that, and we almost did. We gave them more chances than we should have.”
Dresden drove the ball down to the 17 and attempted a 34-yard field goal, but the kick hit the left upright and bounced back into the end zone.
With a jam-packed house on the final home game of the regular season, and with it being senior parent night, the Lions defense made sure the home crowd had something to cheer about. Dresden forced four West Carroll turnovers — two fumbles along with two interceptions and converted one turnover into a touchdown in the first quarter.
“That is what we preach (causing turnovers) to our defense,” Hodge said. “I feel like we are a defensive strong team and we are going to rely on our defense. That is the bottom line and we are going to stick to that.”
West Carroll received the opening kickoff and after the War Eagles made a third-down conversion, Logan Thomas picked off Jamal Glenn’s pass at the WC 45. Joey Caldwell’s 22-yard run and Devan Raymer’s 14-yard run got the ball down to the eight. Raymer took it in from four yards out on a fourth-and-goal at the three. The extra point was good to give the Lions a 7-0 lead with 8:18 left to play in the quarter.
The War Eagles’ second turnover came on the first play from scrimmage after the kickoff with Austin Daniel recovering the loose ball. The War Eagles defense tightened up and held the Lions on a fourth-and-goal at the five.
West Carroll put together a 95-yard, 17-play drive that ended with Wynn taking it in from nine yards out with 8:56 to play in the first half. Davis Moran was intercepted five plays into the Lions’ next drive by WC’s Taylor Shaw.
The Lions’ third break of the game came after the defense forced the War Eagles into a punting situation after the interception. The War Eagle punter, Darwin Martinez, had to field a low snap that inadvertently caused him to put his knee on the ground while holding the ball. He got the punt away, but the officials blew the whistle and gave the ball to the Lions at the WC 24.
A holding penalty pushed the ball to the 36, and on the next play, Torres Washington took off on a sweep for a 30-yard gain. Caldwell took the ball in from eight yards out three plays later to give the Lions a 13-7 lead with 2:18 left in the half. The extra point attempt went wide left.
Dresden has been proficient with red zone scoring this season, but WC showed that it can play red zone defense. The Lions got into the red zone four times on the night and scored two TDs, were held on a fourth-and-goal and missed one field goal.
“Our red zone offense did not play well when, all year long, we have done well in the red zone,” Hodge said. “We got down there tonight and did not do things like we are supposed to do. But that is a great football team over there (WC) and the best one we have played all year long. There is no doubt in my mind that, on both sides of the ball, they are a really good football team.”
On paper, these two teams are nearly equal, and it showed on the football field. Dresden had 210 yards of total offense and WC had 217. The Lions ran the ball 42 times for 204 yards. The War Eagles ran the ball 45 times for 196 yards. Wynn led all rushers with 124 yards on 23 carries. Raymer was the workhorse for the Lions with 94 yards on 25 carries. Washington had 53 yards on eight carries and Caldwell had six carries for 44 yards.
Dresden will be hitting the road this Friday to take on District 15A member Riverside. Gleason will be the next road trip for Dresden Oct. 12. The Lions will have an open date to get ready for the final game of the regular on Oct. 26 at Huntingdon in a game that could decide the District 13A champion. Published in The WCP 10.2.12