Twice the Dresden Lion defense was pushed to the limit and twice the unit rose up and answered the call to preserve a thrilling 13-7 win over the visiting Peabody Golden Tide on Friday night at Rotary Field.
Pressure — Dresden’s Tyler Hawks (right) moves in on Tide QB Jerry Rogers during a last-minute defensive stand by the host Lions on Friday night. Dresden forced an incompletion and took over on downs for the 13-7 win. Photo by Stephanie Sturgis
“It was just want to,” Dresden head coach Scott Hewett said of his team’s gutsy last-minute stand.
Needing a score and conversion to take the lead, twice in the fourth quarter the Tide advanced inside the Lion 20 and both times were turned away, giving up the ball on downs.
The last Peabody failure came on the game’s final significant drive. Dresden (2-0) was forced to punt from its own 30 and Colin Kanehl got off a 33-yarder with no Tide return.
Starting at its own 37 with 5:55 left in the game, Peabody continued to mix carries by running back Juwan Anderson and quarterback Jerry Rogers. The Tide picked up four first downs, setting up a first down at the Lion 11. Anderson was stopped on the first play by Todd Barton and Codie Greeson for no gain. Rogers was flushed out of the pocket and hauled down for no gain on second down.
On third down, the Tide QB rolled to his right, but was hassled by Tyler Hawks and Drew Brown and hurried his throw deep out the back of the end zone.
With 47 second to play in the game, Rogers tried another throw on fourth down. Kanehl was in position at the goal line to knock the pass to the turf and set off a Dresden celebration.
Taking over with 43 seconds remaining, Dresden quarterback Dale Hutcherson twice dropped to a knee to run out the clock and seal the Lions’ 13-7 victory.
The first big defensive stand came early in the final quarter. The PHS drive began at the Tide 45 and was highlighted by a 30-yard completion to Jordan Sakarakis. A 10-yard Anderson run moved the ball to the DHS 10, setting up first-and-goal. Another Anderson run advanced the line of scrimmage to the 1. On third down, Greeson and Daniel Harris hauled down Anderson for a 2-yard loss and a false start bumped them back five more yards. On fourth-and-goal, Rogers rolled left and was knocked out of bounds by Tyler McPeak for no gain, giving the ball back to Dresden.
The Lions tallied their first score on their second drive of the game. Starting at their own 22, Dresden overcame two penalties thanks to a Peabody personal foul and a 25-yard completion to McPeak. A screen pass to Kanehl netted 20 yards and Hutcherson capped the drive with a six-yard plunge behind the left side of his line. A fumbled snap on the two-point play resulted in an incompletion and a 6-0 Dresden lead with 9:59 left in the first half.
The teams then swapped punts, but a near disaster turned in the Lions’ favor. Back to punt, Kanehl bobbled the snap and nearly had his kick blocked. On the other end, the Tide’s return man fumbled the ball away and Hawks recovered it at the Peabody 39.
Eight plays later, Hutcherson found McPeak in the end zone where the big tight end out-jumped the Peabody defensive back for a 7-yard TD reception. A roughing the passer penalty on third-and-goal also aided the Lion drive. Gatlin Hatchel booted the point after kick for a 13-0 Dresden lead with 3:00 to play in the opening half.
Before the halftime horn, Tyler Gadlen picked off Hutcherson at the PHS 31 and returned it to the Lion 20, but a Tide penalty on the return set up Peabody at the DHS 40 with 9.6 ticks left in the first half. Rogers tossed two incompletions to end the first half.
Dresden begins District 13-A play on Friday with a trip to McKenzie (1-1) with kickoff at 7:30 p.m.
Peabody 0 0 7 0 — 7 Dresden 0 13 0 0 — 13
DHS — Dale Hutcherson 6-yard run, (pass failed), 9:59.
DHS — Tyler McPeak 7-yard pass from Hutcherson, (Gatlin Hatchel kick), 3:00.
PHS — Jerry Rogers 2-yard run, (Matthew Nicholas kick), 4:21.
First Downs 13 14
Rushes-yards 36-131 28-73
Passing yards 72 100
Comp-Att-Int 5-14-1 12-19-2
Punts 2-27 3-30.7
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 8-62 6-45
Rushing — Peabody, Juwan Anderson 18-91, Jerry Rogers 16-46, Kevin Ellison 1-(-2), Team 1-(-4); Dresden, Dale Hutcherson 13-48, Eric VanDyke 10-28, Gatlin Hatchel 2-1, Daniel Harris 3-(-2).
Passing — Peabody, Rogers 5-14-1 — 72; Dresden, Hutcherson 12-19-2 — 100.
Receiving — Peabody, Jordan Sakarakis 1-30, R.B. Hodges 2-24, Anderson 2-18; Dresden, Tyler McPeak 4-42, Colin Kanehl 3-29, VanDyke 2-27, Harris 1-7, Hatchel 2-(-5).
Records — Peabody 0-1, Dresden 2-0.
Next Game — Dresden will visit McKenzie, while Peabody hosts Union City. Both games will kick off at 7:30 on Friday night.