DHS tailback Jamal Crayton looks for running room in a 28-26 victory

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DHS avenges 2010 loss to Thomasville, moves on

Published 12:30am Saturday, November 12, 2011

In an epic Class 4A second round showdown between two hard-nosed teams, The Dadeville Tigers (12-0) pulled out a win over the Thomasville Tigers (10-2) when sophomore cornerback Roger Hicks blocked a 24-yard field goal with 1:45 remaining on the clock to preserve a 28-26 victory.

“What an emotional game we just played,” said Dadeville head coach Richard White. “We were up and down all night and it really reminded me of what happened last year, except the ball bounced our way tonight and we got the win on a great block to end the game.”

Dadeville struggled at times on offense, but got big plays at crucial moments. Finding rushing yards hard to come by, the Tigers relied on a passing game that produced big gains and big mistakes in equal measure. Quarterback Kaleb Beck completed 12 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns. But, he had three interceptions that led to two touchdown drives that kept Thomasville in the game. Darrion Hutcherson led all Dadeville receivers with three catches for 107 yards and one touchdown reception.

Thomasville’s ability to move the ball against Dadeville’s defensive line took a huge hit in the second quarter when senior running back Tyler Hayes, an Alabama commitment, left the game with a serious leg injury. Even without his presence in the backfield, Thomasville racked up 383 total yards. However, Dadeville’s defense clamped down in the second half, allowing only 99 yards and four first downs.

Thomasville drew first blood in the game after Delvonte White intercepted a Beck pass that set up the Tiger offense on Dadeville’s 30-yard line. After a Dadeville penalty negated a fumble that would have ended the drive, quarterback Tevin Watters connected with Myles Clayton for a 32-yard touchdown pass.

Two possessions later, Dadeville needed only five plays to tie the score 7-7 when Beck hit Hutcherson in stride for a 65-yard touchdown strike with 7:29 to go in the second quarter.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, a poor effort on the ensuing kickoff set up the Thomasville offense on Dadeville’s 33-yard line. Four plays later, Watters bulled his way into the end zone on a three yard keeper that gave his team a 14-7 led with 6:04 remaining in the first half.

Dadeville’s offense was ineffective for the remainder of the quarter, but got a huge momentum boost when senior defensive end Serdarryen Pulliam recovered a fumble in the end zone when Thomasville’s punter botched a snap with 34 seconds to go.

Now tied 14-14, the Tigers seized the momentum at half time and looked poised to take control of the game at the start of the second half.

And that’s exactly what they did.

Taking advantage of several Thomasville miscues, including a fumble on a kickoff, the Tigers scored two quick touchdowns to take a 28-14 lead with 8:58 to go in the third quarter. Beck produced both scores by connecting with receiver Ezekiel Heard on a 7-yard pass and ran for another on an 8-yard keeper up the middle.

The Tigers looked ready to put the final nail in the coffin on their next offensive possession when they drove the ball to the Thomasville 41 on a 7 play, 39-yard drive. However, a Beck interception led to a Thomasville score that closed the gap to 28-20.

After trading several possessions, Thomasville’s offense benefited from some luck when running back Delvonte White scooped up a fumble by his own receiver and scooted into the end zone narrowed the gap to 28-26 with 5:19 to go in the game.

Now leading by only two points, Dadeville’s Beck made a huge mistake on the next possession when Thomasville defensive back Eric Tate intercepted a pass and took it to Dadeville’s 31-yard line with only 4:06 remaining in the game.

Emotions were sky high for both teams as Thomasville’s offense drove the ball to the 7-yard line. But, Dadeville’s defense stiffened, forcing a 24-yard field goal attempt with 1:45 to go in the game. That’s when Roger Hicks leaped into the air and blocked the kick to preserve a 28-26 win.

“We had practiced blocking field goals with Roger earlier in the week and it sure paid off for us,” said White. “I have to say that both teams fought to the end and sometimes it just comes down to luck. Fortunately, the ball bounced our way tonight”

With the win, Dadeville advances to the third round of the state payoffs where they will face UMS-Wright (8-4) in Mobile next Friday night.