Dresden in control of McKenzie’s playoff exit
Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 12:02 pm
The Lions held the ball for 17:10 of the first half, snapped the ball 37 times and churned up 213 yards as they posted 21 first-half points without response.
McKenzie had its share of third-down problems on both sides of the ball. The Rebels couldn’t get off the field defensively and couldn’t stay on offensively. McKenzie snapped the ball 18 times for 51 total yards in the first half and suffered two turnovers.
Lion coach Scott Hewett, who announced his resignation as coach, effective at the end of the season, after the first McKenzie encounter Sept. 2 at Rotary Field, liked what he saw of his team in the first half, but the second-half effort was a concern.
“In the first half, we played real well, but in the second half, we didn’t come out and play like we have to if we are going to continue to play down the road,” Hewett said. “Humboldt is a real good football team.”
The outcome marked the first time Dresden had beaten the Rebels since 2003. That year, the Lions spoiled McKenzie’s unbeaten season with a 23-20 upset at Rebel field.
McKenzie coach Wade Comer acknowledged his team’s inconsistency in the first half.
“They controlled the line of scrimmage. We had some opportunities to make some plays on third down and we just didn’t do it that first half,” he said. “We had two or three times we had them stopped early on that we could have had them to punt and maybe swing the momentum in our favor. They made some plays and we didn’t.”
Dresden scored on its first two possessions, two nine-play, 58-yard drives. Gatlin Hatchel broke the plane at the 7:49 mark from the 4 and converted the first of four extra points.
The Rebels had a drive that reached the Lion 36, but Dresden’s Colin Kanehl halted the incursion with his pick. The next drive ended with a 32-yard TD pass from Hatchel to Kanehl with 1:23 to play. Dresden had an early 14-0 lead.
The Lions converted four straight third downs in the first quarter and, in the second frame, when the third-down conversions dried up, they made good on one of two fourth-down plays.
McKenzie stopped Dresden’s first second-quarter drive, but suffered a three-and out. The Lions embarked on a seven-play, 58-yard drive that culminated in another TD aerial from Hatchel to Kanehl, this one for 38 yards at the 3:34 mark of the second.
“Hatchel was great has given us that kind of effort all year long,” Hewett said. “He’s a tremendous young man and plays everywhere. An athlete like that back there at quarterback is what you want.”
Hatchel torched the Rebels with his feet more than his arm in the first half, but his running enabled him to throw the ball more effectively.
McKenzie had another drive deep into Lion territory that resulted in another turnover, this time a fumble and the Lions enjoyed a healthy halftime lead.
As the second half began, McKenzie took possession and resorted to the aerial attack. Rebel quarterback Ty McClain, making his second start, threw it 25 times in the second half.
But MHS bogged down. Still, the Rebel defense forced two straight three-and-out series to start the second half and a four-play series on the third Lion possession.
Kanehl gave the Lions a 27-7 lead on a 46-yard run, and then Logan Thomas picked off a pass a yard deep in the end zone and returned it 101 yards for a score. Hatchel hit Eric VanDyke for the two-point conversion.
And, that was that.
Published in The WCP 11.8.11