Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

Local Sports

November 24, 2012

Dooly edges Turner with thrilling finish

Vienna — Thanks to its well-executed version of the fourth-quarter two-minute offense, Dooly County High’s Bobcats are moving on to a second round Class A state football playoff date Friday at Seminole County.

After seeing the 7-2 first period  lead they held over Turner County turn into an 8-7 deficit with 3:15 remaining, the Bobcats wheeled 75 yards in 13 plays for the go-ahead score in an ultimate 20-8 win over the Rebels.

“That was a great example of the two-minute offense our kids gave,” jubilant victorious coach Jimmy Hughes said of the decisive drive that  actually required 24 seconds more than that to negotiate.

“The guys just kept finding ways to make plays as our linemen blocked, our quarterback delivered the ball to the receivers and our running backs blocked and ran hard in a very efficient performance.

“And a really good thing about it was the way we responded immediately after what they did for their go-ahead score — march 90 yards primarily on the ground which nobody had been able to do on us before.

“We could have quit right there, but instead stopped their two-point conversion attempt and then moved the ball all the way down the field to get it into the end zone for the winning score (with 51 seconds to go).”

Chanin Hamilton started the march with a 27-yard burst off tackle, later gained 12 yards from the 21 right after A.J. Smith hit Tyrone Anderson with a 22-yard pass and eventually ended it with a 9-yard dash. For the night, he wound up with 136 yards on 24 carries.

Kereon Merrell then put the icing on the first playoff victory cake Dooly had cooked in five years when he sat on a stop route Turner ran and intercepted a pass he returned 30 yards for an insurance score.

Prior to the late scoring flurry that produced 19 of the game’s combined 28 points, the contest pretty much evolved into a defensive battle.

A blocked punt recovered by the Bobcats at the Rebels 33 set up the first points of the night recorded just over five minutes into the contest pitting a now 9-2 Dooly team against a Turner squad that finishes 6-5.

The payoff came six snaps later on A.J. Smith’s 15-yard fourth down connection with Courtney Clark who after snaring a pass in the right flats stretched into the end zone for the score. Diego Cruz toed the PAT.

Having been accorded a No. 12 seed for the contest after finishing fourth in Region 4-A, Turner got on the scoreboard via a safety that resulted from a bad punt snap made by fifth-seeded 9-2 Dooly with 1:11 left in the initial period.

The home team threatened to up its lead as time wound down in the first half only to hurl a pass that Turner’s Quan Williams intercepted at the 10 35 seconds before intermission.

The Rebels promptly missed out on a golden opportunity to forge ahead at intermission, dropping a halfback-option pass to a

receiver who had gotten wide open when a Bobcat defensive back fell.

Defenses dominated throughout the third period that ended with Dooly in the midst of a 10-play, 73-yard drive featuring runs 16, 31 and 23 yards by Hamilton who at the end of the latter lug was stripped of the ball that was returned to the 10. From there, Turner mounted its lone TD drive.

Aided by 25 yards of penalties against the Bobcats and a 26-yard keeper by quarterback Luke Soliday, the Rebels moved to the 9 where in a fourth-and-4 situation Dooly jumped offsides. Three plays later, Soliday scored from the 3.

Turner’s elation of that play ultimately turned into deflation when Dooly made its game-winning march that was kept alive by a pass interference call on third-and-15 from midfield.

“From our standpoint, it was a great ending to a great high school game that we were proud to be a part of as kids on both teams really played hard throughout,” Hughes said.

“We knew going in we would be played a good team that coming out of a tough region and having faced a strong non-region schedule to boot would be well coached.

“Turner’s offensive and defensive game plans and the effort their guys put forth were very good and that had a lot to do with the fact we didn’t play our best. We feel very fortunate and lucky to have come out on top in a game that could well have gone either way.”

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