By RON PARK
In their second loss of the regular season, the 1A Dresden High School Lions came up short 42-21 against the 4A Obion County Central Rebels in a non-region contest this past Friday night in Dresden.
Ironically, the Lions’ only other loss (and only region loss) was to another Rebels team on Sept. 30 against McKenzie.
For most of the game against Obion Co., the Lions just couldn’t seem to stop the Rebels’ offense, particularly quarterback Ben Sharpe and running back Johnny Light, and Dresden didn’t really get its offense rolling until late in the contest.
“The first seven minutes of the game just really hurt us, and it took too long to recover,” said Dresden head coach Keith Hodge. “We came out sort of flat and couldn’t find our rhythm till it was almost too late. Hats off to Obion County. They played hard and got after us. We needed to make some stops once they got the lead, but we weren’t able to make those happen.”
The Rebels scored three times in the first quarter on a six-yard carry by Light at 7:21, a 53-yard breakaway keeper by Sharpe at 5:32, and an eight-yard run by Light at 3:58. With three extra points tagged on, that put Obion County up 21-0 at the end of the first.
Sharpe pushed in from the one-yard line at 7:38 of the second quarter, making it 28-0 after the kick.
Starting at their own 17, the Lions then launched out on their first scoring drive of the game, which concluded with a 22-yard touchdown carry by Tristan Jett. Mark Maddox added the extra point, and Dresden was on the board but way behind 28-7.
Light was back in the end zone, this time from two yards out, with just 25 seconds left in the first half. The kick was good, giving the Rebels a considerable 35-7 halftime advantage.
The Rebels made it 42-7 a little over halfway through the third quarter with a 31-yard TD by Drake Hamilton. That score held to the end of the third.
Shortly after a rather odd and confusing transition from the third to the fourth quarter, quarterback Tatum Oliver connected with Jett, who was stopped just one yard short of the end zone in a 47-yard pass play. Oliver put it in on a keeper on the next play, and Maddox added one to set the score at 42-14 at the 10:22 mark.
The Lions’ next scoring opportunity came soon thereafter as Jaylyn Mitchell recovered an Obion County fumble at the Rebels’ 33-yard line. Dresden eventually made good on the turnover with a 13-yard scoring pass from Oliver to Raymond Johnson. Maddox’s kick was good, and the Lions had closed half of the gap 42-21 with only 5:45 left to play.
But that turned out to be the final tally as the Rebels killed the clock with a slow and steady drive up to the Lion 38.
Coach Hodge chalked it up as a learning experience.
“We need to and will learn from this and move forward,” said the coach. “We’re too good of a football team not to.”
Now 7-2 overall and 4-1 in region play, the Lions cap off the regular season this Friday night with a homefield region match against the Hollow Rock-Bruceton Central Tigers (1-8, 1-4), starting at 7 p.m.
Dresden will be spotlighting its football seniors in pregame ceremonies, starting at 6:15 p.m.
“I’m looking forward to our final regular season game,” said Hodge. “It’s senior night, which is always special, and we have a special group where the majority of these guys have been four-year players. We need to start a lot faster and play with a much higher sense of urgency.”
According to Hodge, the Lions have already been slated to host Eagleville on Nov. 4 in the first round of the state playoffs.