DOTHAN -- Dothan High passed a gut check -- but not before coach Smitty Grider passed a stress test -- in the Wolves’ Class 6A, Region 2 thriller against a Eufaula team that never quit.
In their 49-38 victory over the Tigers, the Wolves demonstrated how not to take of a comfortable lead with a couple costly turnovers, several penalties and some poor tackling – but that will be for Monday’s film session.
A solid crowd at Rip Hewes Stadium saw Dothan build a 28-7 lead, fall behind 38-35 midway through the fourth quarter and make plays when it counted down the stretch.
Eufaula had dominated much of the second half. A 31-yard field goal by Davis Wingate capped a nice opening drive to start the second half and cut Dothan’s lead to 28-24.
The Tigers answered two plays from scrimmage later. Jamal Lane hit Jabre Barber on a quick out near the left sideline. He made the first man miss and got a tremendous block from CJ Shackelford that sprung him for a 54-yard touchdown. Brody Barnett’s extra point gave the Wolves a 35-24 lead midway through the third.
The Wolves’ defense stopped a Eufaula drive on downs, but the Tigers got closer when Devin Fuller broke loose on a 49-yard touchdown run to cut Dothan’s lead to 35-31 with 2:16 left in the third.
Dothan then turned it over with a fumble that Keith Bain recovered. Eufaula couldn’t take advantage and Kameron Dawsey came up with a big Wolves’ interception on the first play of the fourth quarter.
But Bain got the visitors the ball back with an interception that he apparently returned 50 yards to the end zone. A flag on the return, however, kept the pick intact but nullified the touchdown.
It didn’t matter. Eufaula drove for the go-ahead score. Quarterback Hess Horne had a 27-yard completion to Rah Rah Thomas to the Dothan 10. Zy Tennille finished it with a 3-yard touchdown run that put Eufaula up 38-35 with 7:45 left in the game.
Dothan regained its poise. Three power runs by Jalen White picked up 17 yards and moved the ball into Eufaula territory. A pass interference penalty moved Dothan to the Eufaula 34. Lane hit I’zarrius Macon for 14 yards. White then pounded for 17 yards to the 2. De’Ante Ramey took it from there and the Wolves led 42-38 with 5:19 left.
Dothan’s Jordan Harris intercepted Horne’s pass down the middle and returned it to the Eufaula 9.
That set up White’s 6-yard TD with 4:05 remaining to give Dothan its 49-38 victory.
Even then, Eufaula came back, but Dothan twice stopped the Tigers from the 1-yard line – the last when Horne slipped on a rollout to his left as the Wolves’ TJ Lewis was applying pressure.
Dothan ran out the final 1:52. The Wolves appeared to have control of the game midway through the second quarter.
They scored first late in the first. Lane hit Jayden Folmar on a long post route for 43 yards and a first down at the Eufaula 2. On third-and-goal from the 5, backup quarterback Bauer Sharpe hit Shackelford on a crossing route in the end zone. Barnett added the kick.
It didn’t take long for the Tigers to answer. Facing third-and-7 from the Dothan 47, Horne found Thomas alone up the left sideline for the touchdown. Wingate tied it up with the PAT with 3:31 left in the first quarter.
Dothan came right back. Three consecutive runs by White produced 10, 15 and 14 yards. Three plays later, Lane threw a perfect fade to the 6-foot-4 Shackelford, who was well covered by Quay Lynn but Shackelford out-jumped him for the ball in the end zone. The play covered 25 yards. Dothan executed a nice two-point play with the extra point team spread out and it was 15-7 with 47 seconds left in the first.
Momentum shifted to the Wolves when Dawsey recovered a Eufaula fumble and returned it around 40 yards to the Tigers’ 9. Dothan took advantage and scored on De’Ante Ramey’s 3-yard run less than a minute into the second quarter. The conversion failed and the Wolves led 21-7.
It looked like it was going to get out of hand midway through the quarter. Facing third-and-18 at the Dothan 24, Lane hit Jabre Barber behind the Eufaula secondary. The receiver raced the rest of the way on a 76-yard play. Barnett’s PAT gave Dothan a 28-7 lead with 5:37 left in the first half.
Eufaula’s Jamarian Lewis made a second-effort while returning the ensuing kickoff, but fumbled the ball back to Dothan.
The visitors didn’t go away. They stopped Dothan on downs and drove 68 yards to the end zone. Horne hit Tennille for 33 yards on the march and a 15-yard penalty at the end of the play put the Tigers on the Dothan 16.
Two plays later, Horne threw a quick screen pass to the left flat and Fuller did the rest, getting a nice block and running 16 yards to the end zone. That cut it to 28-14 with 2:19 remaining.
Dothan turned it over with a fumble and Eufaula’s Luke Bush recovered for the Tigers at the Wolves’ 43.
On first down, the Tigers ran an end around, but flipped it back to Hess, who hit Thomas for the touchdown. Wingate’s PAT pulled Eufaula within 28-21 with 1:59 left in the half -- exactly 20 seconds after their previous score.
Dothan had a nice drive to get into scoring position, but a 35-yard field goal try hit the right upright as the first half expired with the Wolves leading 28-21.
The Tigers opened the second half with perhaps their best drive of the night to that point. Wingate finished it with a 31-yard field goal that pulled Eufaula within 28-24 with 7:24 left in the third quarter.
But the Wolves’ regained some momentum with a big play. Lane threw an easy pass to Barber in the left flat. Barber made one man miss, then got a great block by Shackelford that paved the way to the end zone on a 54-yard lightning bolt. Barnett’s PAT made it 35-24 Dothan with 6:31 left in the third.
Eufaula returns to Tiger Stadium Friday to welcome the Sidney Lanier Poets, who have only played once this season, a 19-17 loss at Cramton Bowl to Class 7A Lee Montgomery. Last season, Sidney Lanier kicked a last-second field goal to beat Eufaula, 22-20, at Cramton Bowl. It marked the Poets’ first win in three meetings against the Tigers.
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Class 6A, Region 2
Carver Montgomery 3-0 1-0
Dothan 2-1 1-0
Sidney Lanier 0-1 0-0
Park Crossing 0-3 0-0
Eufaula 1-2 0-1
Russell County 0-3 0-1
Last week’s results
Dothan 49, Eufaula 38
Carver 22, Russell County14
Clay-Chalkville 19, Park Crossing 14
Sidney Lanier OPEN
This week’s schedule
Friday, Sept. 13
Sidney Lanier at Eufaula
Dothan at Park Crossing
Baker at Carver-Montgomery
Russell County at Carver-Birmingham
Eufaula Opponent Scores
Wakulla (Florida) did not play
Early County (Georgia) 24, Miller County (Georgia) 0
Mary Montgomery 34, Alma Bryant 7
Central Phenix City 44, Smiths Station 0