Dillon defeated Chapman on Saturday to win the state championship. Here is a photo gallery from the game by Johnnie Daniels/The Dillon Herald.
Photos by Johnnie Daniels/The Dillon Herald
Click once to bring a photo into a single screen, and then again to enlarge.
By Lonnie Turner
The Dillon Wildcats, not to be denied, rallied with twenty points in the third quarter Saturday evening at Columbia’s William Brice Stadium to nullify a three touchdown, second quarter surge by the Chapman Panthers that tied the game at intermission, 21-21. The Wildcats scored two more touchdowns in the final quarter to nail the fifth title in the last 6 years with a 55-27 win.
Last year’s game was somewhat like this year’s in that the Panthers tied the game at the half, 21-21, behind the running of DJ Twitty and the passing of Colton Bailey, but unlike 2016, the Wildcats defense made some adjustments and quickly put the Cats back on top with 20 points in the third quarter.
Bailey was injured near the end of the half Saturday and failed to return to the game in the second half. He had thrown for 235 yards to lead his team back to a tie with the Cats, passing for TDs twice to Richard Tucker and once to Patrick Phongsat, all coming in the final seven minutes of the second quarter. At the intermission it was discovered that the senior signal caller had a sprained AC that kept him on the sideline for the remainder of the game. Chapman head coach Mark Hodge remarked that his team showed their ability to bounce back in the second quarter, but the second scoring hole was too deep to dig out of. “We missed someopportunities early and they grabbed the momentum late. You have to give credit to Coach Hayes and his kids.”
When Bailey failed to return to the line-up, Coach Hayes remarked, “I’ve been in this game before and our quarterback went out, and it’s no fun. Our hats off to Chapman, but we just weren’t going to be denied again tonight.”
“We can only imagine what Coach Hayes and his staff told his players at the half, but it had to be some good stuff!,” one Dillon fan remarked. they came out and did what we all knew they could do!”
The Wildcats defense started things off in the third quarter with a Jadarius McDaniel over the shoulder pick at the Dillon 40-yard line that he returned the Wildcat 49. It was his fourth of the season and in six plays Ty’Quan Porter scooped a Zareon Hayes fumble at the Chapman 2-yard line and ran it in for a 27-21 lead, Ahmad Dawad, was perfect with the PAT to give the Cats a 28-21 lead three minutes into the quarter.
The Wildcats followed that score with a 5-play, 58-yard drive that ended with Zareon Hayes running roughshod throught the Panther defense for a 15-yard touchdown. All the hype prior to the game was about Chapman senior ruuning back DJ Twitty, a 2,000 yard rusher for the season, but Hayes made them stand up and take notice. The defensive backs were merely reaching from the side to get an arm in hopes that could bring him down in the second half. He rushed nine times in the game for 82 yards two touchdowns, while Twittycarried 24 times for 80 yards.
The defense scored on the next Wildcat possession, less than a minute later, when Ty’Quan Porter picked up a fumble by Colasurdo at the Chapman 39 and retruned it untouched for his second defensive touchdown of the game and a 41-21 lead. He started thing rolling for the Wildcats with a 75-yard interception, his 11th pick of the season, to score the first touchdown in the opening quarter.
Corrian Wright became the second Wildcat with four picks for the season when he wrestled a pass away from Chapman wide receiver Patrick Phongsat as the third quarter came to a close. The Cats took advantage and Hayes had another long run for a touchdown going 23 yards with 11:36 remaining in the game to take a 48-21 lead.
The Panthers managed to get back into the end-zone with 9:27 remaining in the fourth quarter on a pass from Colasurdo to Ponghsat to pull to within 48-27, but on an on-side kick attempt, the Wildcats were denied a 49-yard touchdown by Hayes when the referee called the play back. A discussion followed by the official crew followed and a fter some discussionm, the referee ruled the call back was because of and inadvertant whistle. Hayes was given 13 yards on the play, but the Cats scored again anyway when Jay Lester hit Jalen Williams running out of the backfield into the left corner of the endzone with a 14-yard pass six plays later. Dawad’s PAT kick was perfect and the Cats finished the game with a 55-27 rout over the Panthers.
Dillon fininshed the game with 229 yards rushing and 240 yards passing from Jay Lester for a total offense of 469 yards while Chapman rushed for 109 and passed for 329 which totaled 438 yards.
The most one-sided statistic was penalty yardage. There were 13 for Dillon for 184 yaards and Chapman was whistled 12 times for 92 yards. That’s another article one day.
Congratulations to the Wildcats and all the coaching staff for getting the state title back to Dillon County!