Saturday, October 22, 2011


Dixie prevailed over Middletown Madison in a hard fought game with plenty of hitting. Neither team has a shot at a league title or playoffs – rather they were playing for pride. And both teams did not back down from the challenge, you would have thought that they were playing for the championship from the intensity on the field. However, this game also featured plenty of penalties and at times there was more yellow on the field than a dandelion patch. Watched a lot of football and this has got to be one of the top games as far as flag tosses go. I don’t think that either team had an advantage as far as the amount of penalty yardage either for or against, but the yardage in total penalties may have surpassed the team offense for either team.

In what would be a harbinger of things to come, a penalty flag flew even before the game opening kickoff! A rule that most folks are not aware of – including yours truly, that when it is game time at least one player from your team must be on the field. If all your players are on the sidelines or in the locker room then it is a penalty. The Greyhounds benefitted from this as Madison had to kick off from deep inside their own territory. And they went to work, quickly scoring on their first drive as Ryan Jordan plunged in from 2 yards out to put Dixie on the board first.
In the first quarter neither team seemed to pass particularly well, maybe from the cold air causing the receivers to drop balls. But Madison was able to put together a nice drive where they kept the ball in between the tackles and scored a field goal. That would end the first quarter in favor of Dixie 7-3.

Dixie stopped another Madison drive when Luke Bowling intercepted the ball at the Dixie 19 yard line. Later in the quarter Ryan Jordan would find the endzone again for another TD. This time the touchdown was set up by a hook and go pass from Bowling to Isaacs that put the ball on the Madison 5 yard line. Madison answered with a TD of their own – their passing game had caught on and they mixed the pass and run well on this drive. But Dixie wasted no time in answering – Ryan Jordan ran a deep post route and caught the defense by surprise, he scored on a 65 yard td pass on their first play from scrimmage. Madison had an extra point blocked and Dixie bobbled the ball on the extra point and so the halftime score stood 19-9 in favor of Dixie.

Madison scored in the third quarter and now Dixie’s lead was getting thin. So to start the 4th quarter, Bowling connected with Smiley on a screen pass that took the ball to the Madison 23 yard line. From there who else but Ryan Jordan scored on a 23 yard TD run to put Dixie ahead by 2 scores. Things then got uglier in the 4th quarter, I unofficially counted at least 8 penalties between the two teams. It had already been a penalty filled night, but with Madison trying desperately to score and Dixie’s hard hitting defense driving them back – emotions were charged as the clock ticked down. The Madison sideline had 2 unsportsmanlikes and both teams had late hits. Madison finally turned over the ball on downs with a minute left and Dixie took the victory formation to ride out the rest of the clock for a 26-16 victory.

Coach Tarpley agreed that there were a lot of yellow handkerchiefs on the field, “Yes we thought that they were a bit excessive. A part of that is we have two hearing impaired players. And we tell the [referee] crews that at the beginning of each game – they also need visual and touch ques. They are great kids and play hard; most crews can work this out, but it seemed to be a problem this week.”
“But our defense played well for us this week,” added Coach Tarpley, “We did really well on third down, preventing the other team from getting a first down and having to punt. Matt Isaacs had at least 12 tackles on the night. And Ryan Jordan had 2 big sacks in the fourth quarter, he had a big impact on the game for us – and he is only a junior. Matt Isaacs and Smiley both had a sack. And Bowling had a big interception for us. Offensively, it was a good passing night for the team. Luke Bowling really came around for us on Friday, we felt we had our passing game where it should have been for us all year. And Smiley had a good night personally – he had 2 big catches for yardage.”

On Carlisle, “This senior class has never had a losing season the 4 years that they have been here. Now they have been 5-5, but never have they been worse than that – so they have some incentive to get out there and keep that intact. Now Carlisle is a good team and are going to be tough to beat. We are going all out and giving it everything we have got. So expect some fireworks from the offense on Friday night, we plan to light it up.”

This will be the last interview with coach Tarpley this season and so we discussed the future, “We have a lot of good juniors that are contributors on offense and defense. A lot of how we do depends upon what they do in the off season. This season we checked it out and we had the 5th toughest D5 schedule in the state. They will need to be prepared for us to have success.”