They say elephants have long memories.
So do Lions, apparently.
The Dresden Lions got revenge for a 2009 loss to the Halls Tigers by crushing them, 40-13, on Friday night at Rotary Field.
The Lions were denied a TSSAA playoff spot last season due to one loss — a lackluster defeat at the hands of the Halls Tigers.
One year later, Dresden has learned not to take any game or opponent for granted.
Halls threatened to take the game’s first lead, showing a mixture of the run and pass with freshman quarterback Zach Harris connecting on his first four passes of the game mixed in between runs by Emmitt Henning and Tevin Giles. Halls got as deep as the DHS 26-yard line before the Lions forced an incompletion on a Harris fourth-down pass.
The host Lions responded by using their balanced attack to hammer the young Tigers. That balance between the run and the pass was evident in the first Dresden drive.
Senior quarterback Dale Hutcherson connected with classmate Daniel Harris and tight end Tyler McPeak. Daniel Harris and Devin Raymer also had key runs in the drive. For the first of four times on the night, the Lions had a touchdown called back due to a penalty. Yellow flags were frequently spotted, as Dresden was whistled for a total of 11 violations and penalized 100 total yards in the game.
Dresden overcame the errors as Hutcherson hit Colin Kanehl for a nine-yard touchdown strike. Hutcherson found Daniel Harris open for the two-pointer to boost the lead to 8-0 with just under two minutes left in the opening quarter.
DHS junior Gatlin Hatchel picked off Zach Harris to end the second Halls drive deep in Tiger territory.
The pick gave the Lions excellent field position at the HHS 22. Hutcherson hit Logan Thomas for a 14-yard gain. On the first play of the second quarter, Raymer covered the final 8 yards with a run. The PAT kick missed the mark, leaving Dresden’s lead at 14-0.
After a Tiger punt, the flags haunted Dresden. The Lions had touchdowns called back on two consecutive plays. A penalty on the next play also helped squelch any chance to continue the DHS drive, leading to a punt.
The teams traded punts until the Lions put together a quick 87-yard drive in the half’s final two minutes. Hutcherson hit McPeak for a 33-yard gain and had runs of 19 and 16 yards. The Lion signal caller found his favorite target Kanehl for a 21-yard touchdown toss with six seconds remaining in the second quarter. The duo also worked together to convert the two-point play for a 22-0 halftime lead.
Just as the first half finished on a high note for the Lions, the second half began that way. Hatchel returned the kickoff to begin the third quarter 87 yards to paydirt to quickly extend the Lions’ lead to 28-0.
Halls finally got on the scoreboard with 4:19 to play in the third frame. Henning was the clutch performer in the march with a 37-yard run, a catch for 20 yards and a nine-yard touchdown catch to cut the Tiger deficit to 34-6.
It wasn’t Hatchel returning the ensuing kickoff, but the result was the same. Phillip Hazlewood returned the kick 68 yards to erase any Tiger momentum and create a 40-6 Dresden lead.
With bench players in the game, it appeared Dresden would add to its lead in the fourth quarter, but a Lion fumble inside the Tigers’ 5 was scooped up and returned nearly the length of the field for a TD by KJ Broadnax to close scoring in Dresden’s 40-13 win.
Halls 0 0 6 7 — 13 Dresden 8 14 18 0 — 40
DHS — Colin Kanehl 9-yard pass from Dale Hutcherson, (Daniel Harris pass from Hutcherson), 1:58.
DHS — Devin Raymer 8-yard run, (kick failed), 11:54.
DHS — Kanehl 21-yard pass from Hutcherson, (Kanehl pass from Hutcherson), 00:00.6.
DHS — Gatlin Hatchel 87-yard kickoff return, (pass failed), 11:49.
HHS — Emmitt Henning 9-yard pass from Zach Harris, (kick failed), 4:19.
DHS — Logan Thomas 9-yard pass from Hutcherson, (pass failed), 6:45.
DHS — Phillip Hazlewood 68-yard kick return, (pass failed).
HHS — KJ Broadnax 96-yard fumble return, (Luke Wilson kick), 8:00.
First Downs 10 20
Rushes-yards 33-82 34-191
Passing yards 56 144
Comp-Att-Int 12-21-1 11-17-0
Punts 6-26.5 3-30
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 4-2
Penalties-yards 1-5 11-100
Rushing — Halls, Tevin Giles 14-56, Emmitt Henning 4-50, Charlie Walton 7-20, Team 2-(-9), Zach Harris 6-(-35); Dresden, Devin Raymer 11-74, Dale Hutcherson 6-44, Colter Swafford 4-27, Colin Kanehl 2-24, Daniel Harris 5-24, Jastin James 2-9, Cody Willingham 1-5, Brandon Elliott 1-(-2), #18 1-(-4), Team 1-(-10).
Passing — Halls, Harris 12-21-1 — 56; Dresden, Hutcherson 11-17-0 — 144.
Receiving — Halls, Henning 2-29, TJ Reed 2-14, Giles 4-7, Cole Nichols 1-4, #7 2-2; Dresden, Kanehl 4-61, Tyler McPeak 2-38, Logan Thomas 2-23, Harris 2-16, Gatlin Hatchel 1-6.
Records — Halls 2-3 (0-1 District 14-A), Dresden 5-1 (1-1 District 13-A).
Next Game — Halls will travel to South Fulton, while Dresden will entertain Huntingdon. Both games are set to begin at 7:30 on Friday night.