Dillon High School defeated Loris on Friday night during their homecoming game. Geronda McLeod was named homecoming queen.
Photos by Johnnie Daniels/The Dillon Herald
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By Lonnie Turner
The Dillon Wildcats coaching staff and fans were shocked during the first eight minutes of the football game with Loris Friday night when the Lions scored 14 points with little effort against the unbeaten Wildcats, but Dillon turned it on in the next three quarters to win pulling away, 39-20.
What does a good team do when it gets down like that at home? The Wildcats just buckled down and went on a 37 unanswered binge, scoring a touchdown in the waning seconds of the first quarter and putting 17 more points on the scoreboard before intermission to take a 24-14 half-time lead. Corrian Wright led the way for the Cats scoring on runs of 11, 1 and 4 yards and adding two more touchdowns was Ty Rogers on the receiving end of passes from Sophomore quarterback Jay Lester. The first, that pulled Dillon to within 7 points, was a 42 pass to Rogers in motion out of the Wildcats backfield. The fleet back went untouched for the score and Ahmad Dawad was perfect with the PAT to make the score 14-7.
Shrine Bowl bound Ty’Quan Porter picked off his eighth interception of the year on the second play of the following series of the Lions and returned it 26 yards to set up another score that pulled the Cats to within four points. Ahmad Dawad was called on to try a record breaking 40 yard field goal and it was perfect with room to spare. The old record was set back in 1988 when Charles McCall kicked a 39-yarder against the Socastee Braves.
Daizion Alford’s first interception of the year followed as the Lions were marching toward the Dillon goal. His catch over his shoulder took him all the way to the Wildcat 26 before he made a few cuts and returned the pick 46 yards to the Loris 28 yard line. Lester passed for a first down to Ahmari Huggins-Bruce to the eleven and Wright went the final 11 yards for his first touchdown of the evening and Dawad’s kick put the Wildcats ahead for the first time, 17-14.
Lester combined with Ty Rogers for their second TD pass after the Wildcats converted on a fourth down play to get to the Loris 26 on the fourth offensive series for the Cats. The 26 yard toss gave the Cats a 24-14 lead with only eight seconds remaining in the first half.
Dillon wound up with 224 total yards in the first half come back, compared to 177 for the Lions.
The Wildcats took the second half kickoff and marched 65 yards on 11 plays to go up 31-14 on a one-yard run by Wright. The back up running back carried the football seven times up the middle, hitting holes in a hurry opened by center Dawson Dove and guards Austin Allen and Antonio Coleman. In the series, Wright tallied 36 yards of the drive.
Wright scored his third touchdown of the night on the first drive of the fourth quarter, scoring on a three-yard run to 77-yard drive in 10 plays, but a bad snap prevented Dawad from getting his eighth point of the night as his kick sailed off to the left of the goalposts.
Stevenson did get one more touchdown through the air with 7:50 remaining in the game. He hit Jahrique Isaiah in stride for a 46-yard score, but a pass for the two point conversion fell incomplete.
The final score of the evening came as a result of a 37-yard punt that was downed at the Lion 10 yard line. The Lions lost five yards on two plays and running back Waderek Hemingway fell out of the back of the end zone for a safety, giving the Cats a 39-20 final score and Coach Jackie Hayes his 298 victory against only 52 losses in his 26th season as head mentor for the Cats, which calculates to a winning percentage of 0.851.
The Wildcats finished the game with 392 total yards and Loris had 257 net yards. Defensively, the Cats increased the interception figure this season to 14 against on one for the opposition. Rogers led the Wildcats with 97 yards on 13 carries and Rogers caught 3 passes for 70 yards.
The Cats will hit the road this coming week to take on the Aynor Blue Jackets, a team that always steps up big to tackle the Wildcats with their tight offensive line play. The team is looking for a pretty good following so don’t disappoint them.