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Lions ready to take next step in going ‘all the way’

Lions ready to take next step in going ‘all the way’
Lions ready to take next step in going ‘all the way’

Honorary captain — The Dresden Lions honored one of their former players by naming him an honorary captain prior to their playoff win over the Forrest Rockets last week. Marine Lance Corporal James Washburn (center), a 2008 Dresden graduate, is a veteran of the War in Afghanistan and is home recuperating from injuries he received there. The Lion captains presented Washburn with a football signed by every member of the 2010 DHS squad. On hand for the pregame presentation were (from left) Killian Davis, Dale Hutcherson, Washburn, Tyler Hawks and Drew Brown.   Photo by Stephanie Sturgis


The Dresden Lions football team breaks down after practice and games by asking the question “How far?” and answering “All the way.”
The next step in “all the way” comes on Friday night when the Lions travel to Decatur to take on the host Riverside Panthers (9-1) for the second time this season. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Dresden (8-3) is coming off a top-notch, all-around performance in their 2010 playoff debut. The Lions performed well in every facet of the game in defeating the Forrest Rockets 21-7 last Friday night. Riverside, as the No. 2 seed in the playoff quadrant, had a bye last week. Dresden was seeded third.
The stakes will be higher than just revenge when the Lions try to knock off Riverside for a second time this season. The winner advances to the Class 2A quarterfinals, while the loser’s season will be over.
Last week’s TSSAA playoff win for Dresden was their first in 15 years.The last time the Lions celebrated in the playoffs was in 1995 when Dresden blanked St. Benedict 19-0 in the opening round. A win on Friday night would represent the first two-win postseason for Dresden since 1986 when the Lions advanced to the quarterfinals with wins over Old Hickory (8-0) and Bolton (26-0) in the early rounds.
In their first meeting, the Lions rallied with 14 points in the fourth quarter to knock off the host Panthers, 20-14, on Oct. 8. Dresden took advantage of four Panther turnovers — two fumbles and two interceptions — in their victory. The Lions committed only one turnover — an interception. Riverside was also hampered by 80 yards in penalties, including two that called back touchdowns. Dresden was whistled for 40 penalty yards in the win.
The 20 points the Lions scored was the most allowed by Riverside all season. Also, the Dresden defense limited the Panther offense to a season-low in points with 14. Riverside averaged scoring 32 points per contest, while allowing just 8.7 points per game during the regular season.
Although the gritty Dresden defense did limit the Panthers’ points, it was via a bend-but-don’t-break philosophy. Riverside rushed for 366 yards in the earlier contest. The Panthers had to backs go over the century-mark for yardage. Brice White led the boys from Decatur County with 149 yards on 22 carries, while teammate Jerett Scott amassed 111 yards on 22 carries. White scored both RHS touchdowns — one on a 41-yard run and the other covering five yards. In addition, Jase Taylor rushed for 78 yards on seven carries, and Marquis Phelps picked up 68 yards on six runs.
The Panthers struggled when they did go to the air. QB Jeb Jones threw more completions to Lions (2) than he did to Panthers (1) on his four pass attempts.
Against Riverside, the Dresden offense was limited to its second-lowest yardage total of the season. The Panthers held the Lions to 197 total yards. Dresden’s lowest yardage output (173 yards) came against Peabody. The Lions rushed for just 52 yards against RHS. Eric VanDyke, who has been hampered recently by injuries, was the leading ground gainer with 45 yards on nine carries. The Lions are hoping to have VanDyke healthy enough to contribute this week.

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