With the fog laying heavy over Rotary Field, at times it seemed the only things visible were the yellow flags thrown by officials in the host Dresden Lions’ 43-26 loss to the visiting McKenzie Rebels Friday night.
Downfield — Dresden quarterback Dale Hutcherson threw for four touchdowns in a 43-26 loss to McKenzie.
The Lions committed 15 penalties, and those mistakes — along with five turnovers and a blocked punt — led to Dresden losing its first game of the 2009 season. The blocked punt and a Lion fumble were both returned for McKenzie (2-1, 1-0) scores. The win for the Rebels gives them a leg up on advancing to the postseason from District 13-A. Both DHS and McKenzie are the lone 2A teams in the district.
“There was a bunch of penalties. The punt and taking the ball out of a guy’s arms and scoring, those things will turn the momentum,” DHS head coach Scott Hewett said.
Trying to improve to 3-0, the Lions (2-1, 0-1) were their own worst enemy in the first half, turning the ball over on four of their first five possessions.
The Dresden defense held strong after the first turnover. The Rebs’ Max Arnold intercepted an Isaac Butler pass and was hauled down at the DHS 42. The Lions forced a punt.
The second Lion drive came to an end on a fumble. Dresden held again, but McKenzie’s Austin McKinney earned a first down on a fake punt run. On the next play, McKinney hit Quinton Bowden for a 21-yard pass to the Lion 3. Jake Johnson did the rest on a run up the middle. Alex Rider’s kick missed for a 6-0 Reb lead at the 5:22 mark.
Dresden next gained a first down on Zach Jolley’s hard run, but two penalties and a botched handoff led to a punt.
Again the DHS defense came up with a stop and forced a three-and-out Reb series.
The next Lions’ drive was short too, as Dale Hutcherson was picked off on second down.
Starting a drive inside DHS territory for the third time in four possessions, the Rebs moved to the Lion 11, but Tyler McPeak hauled down McKinney for a 13-yard loss. Rider then missed a 36-yard field goal try.
The Lions gave the ball right back as John Johnson picked off a Butler pass on second down.
The Rebels wasted little time in making Dresden pay. Bowden covered the final 20 yards of the three-play, 33-yard march. Bowden also ran in the two-pointer for a 14-0 lead with 7:47 to play in the second quarter.
Dresden then showed some life mixing Jolley and Butler runs with completions by Hutcherson. McPeak made a leaping catch of a Hutcherson pass in the back of the end zone with four tenths of a second left in the half. Jay Wainscott’s kick was wide but Dresden was on the board, trailing 14-6 at halftime, with some momentum despite the sloppy half.
After forcing a Reb punt early in the third, Dresden was moving, but McPeak was stripped after making a short catch. Richie Clark took the ball out of McPeak’s arms and raced 65 yards to paydirt. Andrew Doster ran in the two-pointer for a 22-6 MHS lead with 7:43 left in the third.
The Lions were moving again before penalties brought out the punt team. Evan Rogers stormed through the Lion line, blocked the DHS kick, scooped it up and raced 40 yards to score. Rider’s kick made it 29-6 with 1:07 left in the third.
Dresden then reached paydirt with Hutcherson TD passes twice to Butler and then once to Colin Kanehl on the game’s final play, but Dresden couldn’t stop the Reb run game down the stretch.
“I thought at halftime we’d come out and play a good game. I was very disappointed to come out and give up 30 points. We got whooped there at the end. We got pushed around at the end,” a disappointed Hewett said.
Hutcherson finished hitting on 19-of-34 passes with four touchdowns and one interception. His passes covered 251 yards. McPeak was his favorite target, catching 8 passes for 87 yards and one touchdown.
On the ground, Jolley piled up 119 yards on 18 tough carries, frequently breaking tackles to gain extra yardage.
For McKenzie, Jake Johnson was the leading rusher with 90 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Keon Williams had a 30-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
The Lions will next travel to Dyer to take on the host Gibson County Pioneers, while McKenzie will entertain Peabody. Both games will kick off at 7:30 on Friday night.
McKenzie 6 8 15 14—43
Dresden 0 6 0 20—26
MHS — Jake Johnson 3-yard run, (kick failed), 5:22.
MHS — Quinton Bowden 20-yard run, (Bowden run), 7:47.
DHS — Tyler McPeak 15-yard pass from Dale Hutcherson, (kick failed), 00:00.4.
MHS — Richie Clark 65-yard fumble return, (Andrew Doster run), 7:43.
MHS — Evan Rogers 46-yard blocked punt return, (Alex Rider kick), 1:07.
DHS — Isaac Butler 21-yard pass from Hutcherson, (Daniel Harris pass from Hutcherson), 10:50.
MHS — Jake Johnson 1-yard run, (Rider kick), 8:09.
DHS — Butler 29-yard pass from Hutcherson, (pass failed), 5:09.
MHS — Keon Williams 30-yard run, (Rider kick), 1:40.
DHS — Colin Kanehl 19-yard pass from Hutcherson, (no conversion attempt), 00:00.
First downs 13 24
Rushes-yards 34-167 37-121
Passing yards 21 252
Comp-Att-Int 1-7-0 20-37-3
Punts 3-33.3 2-13.5
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 7-2
Penalties-Yards 9-95 15-103
Rushing — McKenzie, Jake Johnson 16-90, Keon Williams 7-46, Quinton Bowden 6-41, Austin Taylor 1-3, Austin McKinney 4-(-13); Dresden, Zach Jolley 18-119, Isaac Butler 12-18, Eric VanDyke 1-1, Dale Hutcherson 6-(-17).
Passing — McKenzie, McKinney 1-7-0 — 21; Dresden, Hutcherson 19-34-1 — 251, Butler 1-3-2 1.
Receiving — McKenzie, Bowden 1-21; Dresden, Tyler McPeak 8-87, Daniel Harris 6-70, Butler 3-66, Colin Kanehl 2-23, VanDyke 1-6.
Records — McKenzie 2-1 (1-0 District 13-A), Dresden 2-1 (0-1 District 13-A).
Next Game — McKenzie will host Peabody, while Dresden will play at Gibson County High School in Dyer. Both games will kick off at 7:30 on Friday night.