Junior Bulldogs manage to hold off Dresden in finale

Junior Bulldogs manage to hold off Dresden in finale
Junior Bulldogs manage to hold off Dresden in finale

Hanging on — Dresden Middle School’s Kyle Williams does his best to bring down Junior Bulldog Ian Legens during Gleason’s win over the Lions. Photo by Sara Rachels
The Dresden Junior Lions stood as the last test of the regular season for Gleason and after the clock ran out, the Junior Dawgs maintained their grip on a nearly perfect season.
Joey Smith again provided the fireworks for the Lions on the ground, but the big three of Ian Legens, Chris Copeland and Tracy Perry proved to be too much for Dresden to handle in the end and Gleason held on to record a 30-22 victory this past Thursday night in Gleason.
The visitors had possession to start the game and Quincey McDonald was stopped in the backfield for a two-yard loss on first down. Smith had 10 yards on two carries and Tyler Hutcherson snuck in for the first down on a fourth-and-two situation. On first down, McDonald gained a yard, but Kyle Williams fumbled the handoff back to Gleason.
Copeland found a hole up the middle and netted 17 yards. Legens followed with a 15-yard carry. Copeland was wrapped up for a two-yard gain and Legens was contained for four yards on a pair of carries. On fourth-and-two, it was quarterback Hunter Corum’s turn to nab the first with a keeper. Copeland finished off the drive with a 14-yard sweep and dive into the end zone. He added the conversion and Gleason led 8-0 with 2:07 left in the first quarter.
At the Dawg 42, Smith was wrapped up by Clay Cosby on a handoff. Gleason was flagged for holding on the next play and down at the 27, Smith gained three. Dillon Jolley plowed up the middle and carried a few Bulldogs with him for 16 yards and Smith ran in the final eight for the touchdown. Jolley added the conversion and the contest was tied, 8-8, at the end of the opening quarter.
Starting on their own 41 in the second, the Bulldogs went to the running combination of Copeland and Legens and the result was short, steady gains, five first downs and a six-yard touchdown carry from Perry. Legens ran in the conversion and the Bulldogs took a 16-8 lead with 3:06 left before the half.
At the Dresden 41, Jolley gained 20 yards on two carries and Smith took a handoff 39 yards down the left sideline for the score. On a critical play, Jolley was stopped on the conversion and Gleason maintained a 16-14 edge with 2:08 left in the second quarter.
The Dawgs were flagged with an illegal procedure charge and backed up to the Gleason 31. Corum misfired to Legens, but Copeland scrambled for 20 and a first down. Legens finished off the series by himself with two runs for 24 yards, a reception for 14 and an 11-yard sweep to the end zone. Perry added the two points and Gleason increased its lead, 24-14, at the half.
In the third, Gleason started the quarter on its own 30 and gained five on a Corum keeper. Perry picked up six up the middle and Corum got six more on a sneak. Copeland broke free for 16, but Legens was pulled back seven yards. Perry and Copeland quickly made up the difference on carries of eight and 12 yards, respectively. Perry gained five before Legens ran 30 yards untouched for the touchdown. Copeland was stopped on the conversion, but the home team increased the lead to 30-14 with 2:57 left in the third.
On Dresden’s first play of the third, McDonald took a handoff 61 yards for a touchdown, but a holding penalty negated the six. The Lions got the ball back at the 30, but, on a rare miscue, Smith fumbled the ball back to Gleason.
Holding onto possession through the start of the fourth, Gleason eventually turned the ball over on downs.
All the way back at their own 13, the Lions gained 17 from Jolley. Smith scrambled for two, but Jolley was pulled back five. On third-and-long, Hutcherson found Williams for a 73-yard touchdown pass. McDonald added the conversion and the Lions cut the lead to 30-22 with 2:08 left to play.
With little time to play and needing possession, Dresden tried an onside kick. The Dawgs were ready as Copeland recovered the short kick. Gleason held onto possession to take the 30-22 victory and finish up with a one-loss season.
Legens led the Dawgs with 189 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Copeland had 123 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and Perry finished with 37 yards and one touchdown on seven carries.
For Dresden, Smith had 98 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. Hutcherson was 2-for-2 passing with 95 yards and a score.
The Lions will close out their regular season tonight (Thursday) when they entertain Henry as their homecoming foe. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.

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