Dresden letters spell out winner
Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 12:00 pm
By KEVIN WEAKS
Given the result of Friday night’s playoff game at Rotary Field, it could be said that TCA should change its initials to CSR — Can’t Stop Raymer.
Except that Trinity Christian Academy couldn’t stop Colter Swafford, either.
Devan Raymer rushed for 200 yards and a score, and Swafford added four touchdowns as Dresden knocked off TCA 35-22 in the second round of the TSSAA Class 2A state playoffs.
Road warriors in last season’s run to the state championship game, Dresden proved it could play well on its own turf as well, overcoming an early touchdown to the pass-happy visitors with the same “Lions” nickname to eventually pull out in front 28-7.
Now 10-1 on the season, Dresden will host red-hot Trenton in the quarterfinals this Friday. Kick-off is 7 p.m., and tickets are $8 in advance at the school and at the gate on game night — both the start time and ticket price set by the TSSAA.
“He’s done a great job with that program,” Dresden head coach Keith Hodge said of veteran Tennessee prep mentor Joe Gaddis, in his first year at Trenton. “He’s turned that program around in just one year. We know it’s going to be a dogfight, so we have to hold the ball the best we can and keep it away from them the best we can. They have speed all over the field, so it’s going to be a tough game for us.”
After losing three of its first five games, the Golden Tide has reeled off seven straight wins, including last week’s 40-12 verdict over Westwood in the playoffs.
Dresden is playing well, too, and has been all season.
Friday’s win was another example as Dresden pounded out some big numbers from its running game while keeping TCA’s passing attack from lighting up the Rotary Field scoreboard the way it has across West Tennessee this fall.
The Weakley Countians totaled 309 yards on 44 rushing attempts, Raymer putting up 200 on 27 carries mostly out of the “wildcat” formation and Swafford adding 89 and three of his four scores on 10 carries.
“I thought we played really well,” Hodge said. “Even when we didn’t do things right on offense, we were creating holes to run through. That’s what you have to do against teams that are athletic. I thought we were more physical. That was our goal week long, to be more physical and to get after them, and I think we did that very well.”
Trinity’s Kyle Akin had some big numbers as well, completing 21-of-41 passes for 275 yards, but none of his throws went for touchdowns while four were picked off — two by Raymer and one each by Swafford and Logan Thomas.
“It was a great job on defense,” Hodge said. “They scored 22 points, but we gave them two touchdowns with two fumbles. We can’t fumble like that and expect to beat people. We have to protect the ball better and snap the ball better.”
It was a fumble that set up the game’s first score as TCA, after being stopped on its first two possessions, took advantage of Raymer bobble to take an early lead.
Taking over 32 yards from paydirt, Trinity used a pair of 15-yard passes to edge of the goal line, and then James Bond scored the first of his two TDs at 4:52 for a 7-0 lead.
Turnabout was fair play as a turnover led to Dresden’s first score, Swafford jumping in front of an Akin pass.
Starting at TCA 47-yard-line and then hit with an unsportsmanlike penalty during the quarter break, Dresden went exclusively to the “wildcat” with Raymer running on six straight plays.
Carries of 10, 14 and 27 highlighted the possession, and then Raymer finished it off with an eight-yard burst at 8:47 of the second frame.
“We knew we’d go to some read plays eventually,” Hodge said. “I don’t think we really had to, but it causes some problems for the defense when you go with read plays from the wildcat.
“It kind of got them where they didn’t know where the ball was. They were kind of guessing at times, and we took advantage of that.”
TCA stuffed the two-point conversion to hold the lead, but that proved to be short-lived as Dresden scored its next time up as well. Raymer had runs of 47 and 36 yards, and then Swafford found a seam in TCA’s secondary for a 25-yard TD catch on a well-executed 3rd-and-21 play with 1:50 to play in the half. Swafford then ran in the conversion for a 14-7 lead.
Swafford then helped Dresden double his team’s point total with TD runs of 10 and seven yards, the first coming on the opening possession of the second half and the second coming after Thomas’ pick-off.
“That’s what you have to do,” Hodge said. “When you can come out in the second half and put a good drive together, that’s what it takes to beat a good team. We went right down the field and scored.”
Down 28-7, though, Trinity Christian looked poised to wrestle away momentum late in the third by recovering a muffed punt and going 60 yards for a score, Bond’s second TD run, at 1:04 to get within 28-14.
“They got a little momentum back, and we had some adversity, but overall we played well in the second half,” Hodge said.
Interceptions by Raymer kept TCA from building on its momentum, the second coming one play after Dresden gave the visitors two points when a high snap went through the end zone at 7:27 of the fourth period.
Swafford finished off the visitors when he turned a 3rd-and-13 into a 37-yard TD run at 5:14. TCA scored on another short run with 2:33 left. Published in The WCP 11.13.12