DHS stays perfect at home and Region playPublished 1:42am Saturday, October 1, 2011
Led by a stifling defensive unit that got three sacks and pitched a second-half shutout, the Dadeville Tigers secured a playoff berth for the third straight year by defeating the Lincoln Golden Bears 33-14 on a chilly Friday night in Dadeville.
“Our team hasn’t been beaten at home since 2007, and they knew going in that the stakes were high for tonight’s game,” said Dadeville head coach Richard White. “Our kids were inconsistent at times during the game and didn’t execute well, but we’re proud they fought and scrapped to get the win.”
Overall, the Tigers’ offense put up decent numbers with 378 total yards and 16 first downs. However, most of this production occurred in the first half.
Dadeville managed only 94 yards in the second half.
C.J. Tolbert led all Tiger rushers with 61 yards while Jamal Crayton pounded out 59 yards of his own. Dual threat Kaleb Beck rushed for 47 yards while contributing an impressive 196 yards through the air.
The Tigers came out of the gate fast with two quick scoring drives to start the game. The first was an eight-play, 70-yard touchdown drive capped by a four-yard run into the end zone by Crayton. The second was a four-play, 42-yard drive that ended with a four-yard run by Tolbert. With just under six minutes played in the game, Dadeville led 13-0 and looked like a team destined for the state playoffs.
After several possessions where both teams failed to move the ball, Dadeville took advantage of a Lincoln special teams miscue when Crayton recovered the ball for Dadeville after a Tiger punt touched a Lincoln player on an odd bounce.
Taking over at their own 40-yard line, Dadeville took only three plays to score and pushed the lead to 19-0.
Highlighted by a 55-yard touchdown pass from Beck to receiver Terry Toler at the 6:33 mark of the second quarter, the Tigers looked poised to put the game out of reach.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, Lincoln had other plans.
On the next possession, the Golden Bears marched down the field on a six-play, 67-yard drive that featured a 57-yard pass from Lincoln quarterback Sharrod Cochran to receiver Tredarian Gamble that set up the Golden Bears’ offense of the Dadeville 10-yard line. Four plays later on fourth and goal from the six yard line, Cochran bulled his way into the end zone to close the gap to 19-7 with 4:02 left in the second half.
After forcing Dadeville’s offense off the field on the next possession after just six plays, the Golden’s Bears’ special teams blocked the Tiger punt, setting up its offense on Dadeville’s 34 yard line with just 2:13 left in the half. Taking just five plays and leaving only 59 seconds on the clock, the Golden Bears scored again when Cochran found Gamble in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown pass, reducing Dadeville’s lead to 19-14.
As the second quarter drew to a close, it looked like Dadeville was going to have a fight on its hands. However, the Golden Bears’ attempted an onside kick, which Dadeville recovered at the 50-yard line. The Tigers promptly took advantage of this mistake and took just 5 plays to score, leaving only 2 seconds on the clock. The big play of the drive came when Beck found tight end Darrion Hutcherson over the middle for a 35-yard touchdown pass. After a successful 2-point conversion, the Tigers took a 27-14 lead into halftime.
The second half featured very little offense as both teams’ defenses clamped down and took over the game. The only score came with just 4:33 remaining in the fourth quarter when Crayton put the icing on the cake with a 16-yard touchdown run that pushed the score to 33-14.
“Our offense really struggled in the third quarter and we made some mistakes on special teams with two blocked punts,” said coach White. “But, our defense came out ready to play in the second half, and we’re proud of our defensive pressure and the second half shut out. Lincoln is a great team, and we knew we were going to have a fight tonight.”
Dadeville (4-0, 6-0) will travel to Holtville next week for another 4A, Region 3 showdown.