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Trojans follow guide to beat OC

Trojans follow guide to beat OC
Trojans follow guide to beat OC | Trojans follow guide to beat OC
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
What worked for Covington against Obion Central, worked for Dyersburg.
The Trojans — using almost the identical script that handed the Rebels their first loss two weeks earlier — methodically chewed up OC’s defense with countless effective runs and a handful of timely passes in knocking off third-ranked Central 37-27 Friday night at Troy.
D’burg’s seventh consecutive victory after a 1-2 start to the season vaulted the Trojans past Obion Central in the final District 13AA standings but somehow not ahead of OC in the Class 4A West quad playoff seeding. Dyersburg was a seventh seed in the brackets released Saturday morning, behind Obion Central, and will face league brethen Covington — a two-seed — in the first round.
Covington, an automatic qualifier after having beaten both D’burg and OC during the regular season, rallied past the Trojans 21-8 back in Week 2.
The Rebels — who like Dyersburg and Covington will take an 8-2 record into the postseason — are seeded sixth and play No. 3 Fairley (7-3) in Memphis in Round 1.
A complete West quad bracket can be found on page 8.
Friday’s loss ruined Senior Night for nearly 20 Rebel players who have been part of a school record-tying regular season that has been both widely-decorated and chronicled.
It remains to be seen if lingering effects from the setback will spoil a run deep into the postseason.
“We can beat anybody we’ll play, but anybody can beat us, too,” OC head coach Shawn Jackson said after Dyersburg avenged an embarrassing 48-7 loss to the Rebels a year ago.
The much bigger Tro-jans thoroughly dominated both lines of scrimmage this year, grinding out 369 yards of offense and dominating time of possession while running 20 more plays (61-41) than the Rebels. And though D’burg didn’t necessarily shut down Central’s prolific offense, the visitors did limit OC to just 37 rushing yards while also constantly harassing quarterback Trey Phelps, who was sacked twice, hit numerous other times, and regularly forced to move in the pocket.
“They played good up front and were better than us tonight,” Jackson added. “The put eight in the box and it was the first time all year we haven’t been able to run the football.
“On defense, we just couldn’t get off the field. We couldn’t stop the run. That’s been the knock on us in games we’ve struggled in.”
Like Covington did two weeks before, Dyersburg split its rushing load between three players with Rod Cesaer rushing for 83 yards and a pair of scores while quarterback Hayden Alford ran for 75 yards and three touchdowns. Sharquawn Henderson gained 82 yards and had the game’s longest run — 49 yards.
The Trojans’ little-used pass game was a carbon copy of the one the Chargers used to beat OC earlier, too, as Alford was ultra-efficient completing all five of his tosses for 93 yards. Four of those connections resulted in first downs, none bigger than two in the second half on third-and-long that kept D’burg scoring marches alive.
Despite being regularly hurried, Phipps recorded his fourth 300-yard passing game of the season and threw scoring pass No. 34 and 35 — both to Marcus Parr. Phipps now has thrown for 2,708 yards and been intercepted just four times in 211 attempts.
His TD tosses to Parr covered 66 and 26 yards, the first getting the Rebels on the scoreboard just before the half and cutting their deficit to 16-6, the second coming after a Jake Garrigan fumble recovery on the first snap of the third quarter and narrowing the deficit to 16-13.
Parr ended up with six catches for 127 yards — both game highs.
The two clubs then twice swapped touchdowns, the Trojans building their advantage back to 10 a couple of times on runs by Cesaer and Alford, and Central countering both of those tallies with LaDevin Fair TD scampers covering one and six yards that cut the gap back to three.
Following the second of Fair’s scores that sliced the difference to 30-27 with 4:27 to play, though, OC was penalized for a personal foul — one of nine flags thrown on the Rebels — that thwarted any further comeback and made Jackson re-think a possible onside kick attempt.
“You can’t have penalties like that one and some of the other ones we had. They were dumb. It’s bad football IQ. It’s beyond stupid,” the coach said.
D’burg took the ensuing kickoff, converted a critical third down on an Alford to Oshawn Smith short pass that moved the sticks, and scored on an Alford keeper from the 14 with less than a minute left when the OC defense essentially offered no resistance in an attempt to get the ball back on offense.
Though held to  31 yards on limited touches rushing-wise, Fair did have 84 yards on five receptions with Mason McGrew netting 75 yards on four catches.
Josh Quinton had 13 total tackles for OC.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by email at mhutch@uc-messenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 10.31.11

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