The first home game for the Dothan Wolves at Rip Hewes Stadium turned into a high-scoring one – and a historic Wolves win over a ranked team.
Sparked by an offense that scored on eight of 13 possessions, the Wolves outslugged the Class 6A No. 6 ranked Wetumpka Indians 54-41 before a good crowd that included a near full home side.
There were plenty of fireworks with 14 touchdowns, a head coach ejection, and a lot of yellow flags on the field.
It also featured four Dothan touchdowns in the first six possessions for a 26-0 lead early in the second quarter plus a key defensive stop by the Wolves.
Dothan held Wetumpka and star quarterback Ty Rawls to one first down in the opening series, forcing a punt. Jabre Barber took the punt to the left and raced 60-yard for an apparent touchdown, but a block in the back penalty negated the score.
Penalties would cost both teams throughout the game. Wetumpka had 11 for 91 yards, while Dothan had 16 for137 yards, including 45 on three consecutive penalties that included two unsportsmanlike penalties on Wolves head coach Smitty Grider, resulting in his ejection. Grider got the two penalties for arguing on another block in the back penalty early in the second quarter.
Dothan gained a first down on its first play on its own field – a 12-yard run by quarterback Jamal Lane – but the Wolves had to punt three plays later.
The Wolves, though, found paydirt on the next series after the defense forced a Wetumpka punt. Starting at its own 38, Dothan struck in three plays. Lane fired a medium pass to the right to Jayden Folmar, who took it in stride and raced in to complete a 37-yard TD pass. A try for two failed, but DHS lead 6-0 with 5:42 to go in the first quarter.
Wetumpka went three-and-out with a holding penalty negating a first down.
Dothan marched 63 yards in seven plays, overcoming a holding call behind a 36-yard pass from Lane to Barber. Lane scored the touchdown on a quarterback keeper to the right behind running back Ta’Bryious Webb. Brody Barnett’s extra point was good, leaving it 13-0 with 2:12 left in the first quarter.
Wetumpka moved from the 22 to the Dothan 40 behind a 12-yard run by Rawls and a 22-yard run by Timothy Johnson and appeared on the move. However, Rawls went down the sideline for a long pass to Johnson and the Wolves’ Jaylan Faison intercepted it. He returned it 33 yards to the Dothan 44.
The Wolves cashed the turnover into points behind running back Jalen White, who ripped off a pair of 20-yard runs, the latter going up the middle for the touchdown. The extra point was wide right, leaving Dothan’s lead at 19-0 with 10:56 left before halftime.
On the ensuing kickoff, Wetumpka’s Daeric Seabon returned to the right toward the Wetumpka bench to the 45. On the other sideline, Dothan was called for a block in the back, causing Grider to erupt. His arguing led to two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and the ejection.
The three penalties gave Wetumpka the ball at the 15-yard line, but the Wolves, in perhaps the game’s key series, bowed up on defense, allowing only six yards on three running plays. The Indians then missed a 31-yard field goal wide right.
Two series later, Dothan’s offense got in gear again thanks to a 50-yard run by White that started a nine-play, 73-yard drive. The series was also keyed by a 4-yard run on fourth down by Lane.
Three plays after the fourth-down conversion, Lane lofted a pass to the left side of the end zone and CJ Shackleford leaped around the defender to catch it for an 11-yard TD pass. Barnett’s extra point made it 26-0 with 2:42 left in the half.
Wetumpka, behind good field position following a Dothan personal foul penalty, scored in six plays with Johnson scoring on a 13-yard run around the right side. The Wolves’ Faison blocked the extra point – the first of two in the game for him -- leaving it 26-6 with 55 seconds left before halftime.
The Wolves offense kept rolling to start the third quarter, moving 73 yards in six plays. Lane rushed for two straight 13-yard runs and Webb 5 yards before Lane completed 15 yards to Folmar to the 27.
Following a sack, Lane fired across the middle to a wide open Folmar, who caught it at the 20 and raced up the middle untouched to complete a 35-yard TD pass. Barnett added the extra point to make it 33-6 with 9:41 left in the third quarter.
The Indians came surging back, making it a game with two scoring drives in the third quarter to close the gap to 33-21.
First was a 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive in which they overcome two penalties. Terrance Thomas, running behind two other backs in a power set, scored on a 1-yard plunge off the left side. Wetumpka converted a two point conversion on a Brandon Bowman to Malik Davis pass, cutting the margin to 33-14 with 6:33 left in the third.
Two series later, Wetumpka was on the board again with an 8-play, 69-yard scoring drive. A 34-yard Rawls to Jaeel Johnson pass sparked the series, which was capped by a 1-yard flip over a defender into the end zone by Thomas. The extra point was good.
Both teams scored three times in the fourth quarter, going back-and-fourth.
Dothan’s Lane scored on a 28-yard run up the middle and Wetumpka answered with a 64-yard TD pass from Rawls to Bowman, making it 40-28 with 9:31 still left.
But the Wolves answered with an eight-play, 63-yard drive to go back up three scores. The drive was aided by a cut below the knee penalty on a Wetumpka defensive lineman on fourth down that would have turned it over on downs. One play later, White scored on 9-yard run off the right side.
Wetumpka, though, didn’t die easy, scoring on the next series with a 1-yard run by Rawls with 4:50. The ensuing extra point made it 47-35. Completions of 32 and 33 yards from Rawls to Davis and to Bowman sparked the possession.
De’Ante Ramey put Dothan back on the board with a 1-yard run with 1:17 left. He carried the last five plays of the drive, earning 39 yards, but Wetumpka matched it with a 58-yard Rawls to Bowman TD pass with 54.8 seconds left.
The Wolves recovered the onsides kick to end any Indian comeback and seal up the win in the first game at Rip Hewes for Dothan’s new program.