While the final score is why fans came to the Gleason Bulldogs’ game at McKenzie on Friday night, when they left all anyone had on his or her mind was GHS freshman lineman Drake Damesworth.
Damesworth was taken off the field in an ambulance in the fourth quarter of McKenzie’s 46-0 home win over Gleason.
An awkward landing while making a tackle resulted in a fractured vertebrae in his neck. Play was stopped for 16 minutes while athletic trainers from both teams tended to Damesworth. The ambulance was summoned and transported him to a local hospital. From there, the freshman was flown to Le Bonheur in Memphis where he had successful surgery on Saturday morning.
Gleason head coach Noah Lampkins did not return a phone call on Monday morning. Gleason’s Athletic Director Lee Lawrence opted not to comment on the injury Monday afternoon. Later in the day Monday, Weakley County Director of Schools Randy Frazier stated in a press release he was extremely thankful Damesworth was aided by timely medical assistance.
“While we certainly wish this injury hadn’t occurred, we need to recognize that the quick response of those on the field, the athletic trainers who were on hand and especially the actions of the paramedics who responded to the scene, seem to have resulted in the appropriate actions being taken to ensure this young man’s access to in-depth medical care was achieved. Our thoughts go out to both he and his family for a speedy recovery.”
In the game, the Rebels dominated start to finish.
“They’re a very good team, and we’re not very good,” Lampkins said immediately after the loss.
Gleason picked up two first downs on its opening drive — one via a 14-yard completion from Conner Verdell to Nick Poore and the other on a MHS penalty — before punting.
The Rebels needed one play — a 68-yard bomb from Max Arnold to speedy receiver Richie Clark — to take the lead. Arnold booted the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
A long Arnold punt return set up the second score — a 14-yard Matt Eaton run. Matt Thomas added a 3-yard touchdown run for a 20-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Arnold had a 68-yard punt return for a TD and added two touchdown passes to Kirby Esch. Junior Chavez ran three yards for the last MHS TD.
MHS led 34-0 at halftime and 40-0 after three frames.
The loss drops Gleason’s record to 0-2 against District 13-A competition and 2-2 overall. McKenzie, ranked fourth in the latest AP poll for Class 2A, improved to 2-0 in the district and 4-1 overall.
Gleason 0 0 0 0 — 0
McKenzie 20 14 6 6 — 46
MHS —Richie Clark 68-yard pass from Max Arnold, (Arnold kick), 5:36.
MHS — Matt Eaton 14-yard run, (kick failed), 3:09.
MHS — Matt Thomas 3-yard run, (Arnold kick), 1:43.
MHS — Kirby Esch 14-yard pass from Arnold, (Arnold kick), 7:14.
MHS — Arnold 68-yard punt return, (Arnold kick), 5:32.
MHS — Esch 19-yard pass from Arnold, (kick failed), 3:27.
MHS — Junior Chavez 3-yard run, (kick failed), 7:20.
First Downs 7 15
Rushes-yards 36-56 22-170
Passing yards 33 174
Comp-Att-Int 6-15-1 7-8-0
Punts 5-31.8 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 3-25 3-40
Rushing — Gleason, James Owen 9-24, Dalton Teeter 7-11, Blake Taylor 2-10, David Spellings 9-8, Chase Ezell 1-5, Conner Verdell 7-0, Tanner Trevathan 1-(-2); McKenzie, Matt Eaton 5-72, Colin Smith 3-33, Junior Chavez 8-31, Jace Hargrove 2-24, Colin Vinson 2-8, Matt Thomas 1-3, Max Arnold 1-(-1).
Passing — Gleason, Verdell 6-14-1 — 33, Trevathan 0-1-0 — 0; McKenzie, Arnold 6-7-0 — 147, Ty McClain 1-1-0 — 27.
Receiving — Gleason, Nick Poore 3-24, Teeter 1-6, Spellings 2-3; McKenzie, Richie Clark 2-82, Kirby Esch 2-33, Robert Taylor 2-32, Michael Kelley 1-27.
Records — Gleason 2-2 (0-2 District 13-A), McKenzie 4-1 (2-0 District 13-A).
Next Game — Gleason will travel to take on South Fulton, while McKenzie is on the road to Humboldt. Both games will kick off at 7:30 on Friday night.