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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Third quarter the Difference in Dixie Victory
J. C. Tilton

Dixie and TVS were evenly matched thru out the night, but the third quarter ended up being the difference on a wet Friday night. There was rain thru the first quarter and so the field was damp the entire night. Both teams had their share of penalties and turnovers. The coaching staffs had to begin to wonder if their teams could go thru a series without at least one yellow hanky being thrown.

South’s strategy seemed to be to establish a ball control running offense and to use the pass sparingly. While Dixie mixed things up, sometimes using their spread, sometimes using an I formation. And mixing in the pass more often. South did spread things out in the fourth quarter when they were trying to close the gap with Dixie.

South scored first on a Miles McCollum TD run from the two yard line that he had set up with a 41 yard carry. But Dixie answered quick as Gray connected with Prater for a 70 yard TD pass. South had another first quarter opportunity when Cody Bryant snagged a Grey pass to give South the ball at the Dixie 26. But Luke Bowling pounced on a South fumble to put an end to that threat.

Likewise Dixie had a chance with good field position in the 2nd quarter when a shanked punt gave them possession on the South 34. But a Tyler Leach sack put Dixie into a situation where they had to punt. And towards the end of the half Dixie did a fake punt where Hall managed a first down at midfield. But another penalty helped to put an end to that drive where they had to turn the ball over to South at the 40 with seconds left.

Dixie wasted no time scoring in the second half as Doogie Hauser carried for 60 yards to the TVS 8 and then scampered the remaining 8 yards for a TD on the next play. South did answer as Balthis rambled 35 yards for a TD. Michael Hall carried the load for the Greyhounds on the next possession ending the drive by going 22 yards for the next Dixie score.

And in the 4th quart Hauser found the endzone again and so the Panthers were down by two scores 28-14. After an inadvertent whistle caused a redo of a South punt. An alert Nick Youngerman was able to scoop up a Dixie fumble of this punt to give South new hope. But a stout Dixie defense forced South to 3 downs and punt. Later on the Nick grabbed an errant Dixie pass and this time South capitalized. Skylar Reckers closed the gap to a single touchdown with a touchdown run. But there was only 1:24 left in the game. Dixie covered the onside kick from South and ran out the clock.

Coach Schondelmyer was contacted for comment after the game, “Despite the loss, we are showing signs of improvement from last year. But on Friday night we just had too many mental mistakes in crucial situations. We didn’t see this in the preseason – very few turnovers and few penalties. That was the difference maker, we can’t beat Dixie with the amount of mental mistakes we had. We did miss some critical tackles in the second half and that’s just something we have to get better at.“

Positives from the game, “Tyler Leach had a good game going and we lost him in the second half. Losing your fullback takes away from your option offense. Skylar Reckers played well on both sides of the ball. Steve Balthis had a good night as well. But really despite the disappointment, I feel our guys are playing harder and are in better shape than last year. They seem to be committed to playing winning football.”

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