Quick fix enables Lions to top Westview
Posted: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 12:00 pm
By KEVIN WEAKS
Injuries turned Dresden into a one-trick pony on Friday night. Good thing the Lions had a thoroughbred.
Devan Raymer accounted for 150 of his team’s 177 total yards, most coming on rushes from direct snaps in the “Wildcat” formation after Dresden’s backfield was hit hard by injuries in the first half.
The forced change of strategy and scheme paid off, though, as the Lions knocked off Weakley County rival Westview 14-12 in both teams’ season-opener at UT Martin’s Graham Stadium.
It marked the second consecutive year Dresden has opened with a win over the Chargers, and it was the fourth consecutive time Westview has lost an opening on its home field.
“Devan played great,” Dresden head coach Keith Hodge said. “I knew I could trust him with the ball in his hands, and that’s why we went to the Wildcat look and told him to just pick a hole and get in it, and try to run come clock.”
The on-the-fly offensive changes came as a result of two devastating injuries in the first half as wingback Colter Swafford and quarterback Davis Moran both suffered knee injuries and did not return to the game. Fullback Joey Caldwell also went down with an injury but was back in the lineup in the second half.
“It’s not good,” Hodge said of the injuries. “We lost our starting quarterback and one of our top playmakers, so now we have to fight through more adversity. We fought through a lot here and now we have to fight through even more. Every week’s going to be a battle from here on out. We don’t have any chumps on our schedule, and they’re going to be coming after us. They’re going to put 11 in the box to come get us. So, we have to be ready, prepare a little different and do some different things.”
Initial reports on both was meniscus damage that would keep the two out of the lineup three to six weeks. Hodge said a more thorough examination, including an MRI, will be done this week.
Dresden’s adjustments forced Westview to change, too, and head coach Don Coady said that proved difficult at times for his young squad.
“It was hard,” he said. “We have a bunch of kids who set foot on a varsity football field for the first time, and they need a lot of practice time. They’ll get over that as they get more playing time. We spent the entire game trying to make adjustments. Some of them we got done, some we didn’t. Our kids just aren’t old enough and experienced enough to understand how to change a game plan in the middle of a game when a team switches offenses like that.”
The Chargers gave the type of effort Coady believes will pay off in the long run.
“I thought our effort was great, there’s no question about that,” Coady said. “Our kids played hard and gave great effort. We made enough errors — the kind that could be seen by the fans and ones that maybe the typical fan wouldn’t notice — to get beat five times. We have a lot of things to work on, but our kids are working hard in practice and they’re giving a good effort. These are the kinds of growing pains that teams often have.”
Two mistakes in particular likely cost Westview chances to win the game.
Twice while drive for potential scores, the Chargers were hit with offensive pass interference calls, not only resulting in a 10-yard penalty but also a loss of down.
“Those are drive killers,” Coady said. “We got something going in a couple of situations, and the interference calls not only negates your gains, they push you back 10 yards and cause you to lose a down. Both of those killed good opportunities to score.”
Ahead 10-7 to start the second half, Westview got the ball to start the second half and immediately drove deep into Lion territory. But, the first of those two costly penalties came on a 4th-down pass into the end zone, giving Dresden the ball.
Going almost exclusively to the Wildcat, Raymer had his number called on 13 of the drive’s 16 plays. He converted a 3rd-down, a 4th-down and two 2nd-and-long plays and then scored on 4th down from the 2-yard-line on the opening play of the fourth quarter.
It was Raymer’s second TD, capping a 74-yard drive and putting Dresden up 14-10.
Dresden then stopped on Westview on a 4th-and-2 by stopping Quan Williams, who had a solid game with 99 yards rushing, one yard short of the 1st-down marker.
Westview got the ball bak with 5:14 and drove to the Lion 21, but the second interference forced the Chargers into a 3rd-and-28. Raymer broke up a pass to Ty Brown, and then the 4th-down pass over the middle to Williams was stopped six yards shy of the marker.
Cal Bradshaw booted a 25-yard field goal, and Brown went up over his defender for a 14-yard TD catch to account for Westview’s first half scoring. The final two points came as the game ended with Raymer running to the end zone.
Raymer had a 1-yard TD run in the second quarter.
While Dresden was reduced to having no qurterback with experience, putting sophomore Tyler Hutcherson in the lineup on occasion but not asking him to do too much, Westview played the entire game with a two-QB set of Ryne Vinson and Matt Castleman. The two combined to complete 9-of-13 passes for 126 yards, Vinson throwing the TD. Published in The WCP 8.21.12
Quick fix enables Lions to top Westview