Dragons Secure Second Seed in Region 3-A Playoffs With 68-27 Win Over Cannon Co.

York’s Rexroat (1) breaks through the line for one of his 4 touchdowns.

The York Dragons secured a second-round seed in the Region 3-A Football Playoffs on Friday, October 27 as they traveled to Woodbury and took a 68-27 win over Cannon County.

Senior wingback Heath Rexroat had another career night as he ran for four touchdowns and 159 yards and fellow Dragon teammate Ethan Probst added another 102 yards, as the Dragons rolled up over 400 yards rushing in the contest.

Rexroat also had 101 return yards, and had another touchdown called back on a penalty.

Despite the lop-sided score, the game was much closer than the score indicated, as after the Dragons had pulled away to a 22-6 advantage, the winless Lions made a strong comeback effort, closing the gap to 33-20 before York regained their composure and pulled away in the final period.

“I knew that Cannon County had some good looking kids that could rise up and make

York’s Cooper (24) drives in for a touchdown.

some plays, and they did,” said Dragon Head Coach Derwin Wright.  “It was kind of one of those wierd games where, although we won big, it seemed like we were struggling at times.  That’s not untypical after winning a big game like the Livingston game a week before, and the next game you have an opponent that you think all you have to do is show up to win.  Our guys sort of fell in that trap, but we finally got our heads out of the sand to take the big win.”

After holding the Lions to minus-2 yards on their first possession Heath Rexroat returned the punt 61 yards to the Lion 2, but the Dragons gave it up on a fumble two plays later at the 4, and the Lions moved out to their 40 before again being forced to punt.

This time, Rexroat returned the punt 17 yards to the Cannon County 23, and five plays later, Rexroat took it in from 9 yards out for York’s first score of the night, and Johann West booted the conversion to put the Dragons up 7-0 with 2:45 left in the initial period.

York’s Johnson (17) gains a few yards after receiving the ball.

The Dragon defense once again did their job, holding the Lions to minus-4 yards and forcing  another punt attempt, which resulted in a fumble in the end zone of an errant snap over the punter’s head that was recovered by York’s Josiah Headings in the end zone for a touchdown, and West again booted the conversion to put the Dragons up 14-0 with 53 seconds left to play in the first period.

The Dragon defense allowed the Lions one yard on their next possession, and forced another punt, which went out of bounds at the Cannon Co. 33.

It took only three plays for the Dragons to get on the scoreboard this time, as Ethan Probst went on a 30-yard gallop for a first down at the 3, and two plays later, quarterback Landrick Leffew took it in from 2 yards out and West’s point after boot extended the York lead to 21-0 with 10:35 still left in the first half.

On the ensuing kickoff, Cannon County’s got good field position and a burst of momentum when Michael Williams returned the kickoff 48 yards to the Dragon 45 before being hauled down by Andrew Murdock, and then broke free for a touchdown on the next play to put the Lions on the scoreboard and close the gap to 21-6.

York got great field possession when the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds at the Lion 40, and took only one play to get the score back, as Rexroat sweeping the right side to race untouched for the score to give the Dragons a 27-6 advantage with 9:52 left in the second period.

York would add another score on a 5-yard run by Rexroat to cap a 6-play, 25 yard drive with just under 3 minutes to go in the half to go up 33-6, before the Lions responded with a 7-play, 47-yard drive to score when quarterback Charlie Parrish completed a pass to Wade Love to cut the margin to 33-12 at the half.

Cannon County opened the third period with renewed momentum, as they successfully executed an on-side kick, and took only two plays to score as Charlie Parrish connected with Michael Locklear for a 47-yard touchdown and then was successful to Locklear for the 2-point conversion to cut York’s lead to 33-20.

The Dragons then settled down and to their ball-control offense, which resulted in a 7-play, 85-yard drive which was capped by a 12-yard score by Cole Cooper, and Leffew was successful on a 2-point conversion pass to Josiah Heddings to put the Dragons back up 41-20.

York’s Heddings (46) gets through the line for a quaterback sack as Reed (70) assist.

After holding the Lions and forcing a turnover on downs at the Dragon 20 late in the third period, the Dragons put together a 3-play, 80-yard scoring drive, which saw Ethan Probst make big gains of 15 and 46 yards and Rexroat going the final 19 yards for the score to put York up 48-20.

Cannon County’s next possession was cut short when Lathan Drake intercepted a pass at the 39 and returned 25 yards to the Lion 36, and three plays later Jarrett Reed took it in from a yard out to put York up 54-20

The Lions then engineered one of their best drives of the night, going 86 yards in 7 plays to get back on the scoreboard when Charlie Parrish completed a pass to Wade Love for 31 yards and Michael Lockhar booted the conversion to cut the margin back to 27 at 54-27  with 3:17 left to play.

The Dragons would add two more scores before the final buzzer, with one coming on a 28-yard run by Thomas Miller, who also rushed for the 2-point conversion, and the final score coming on a 21-yard run by Cade Brannon on the final play of the game to give York the 68-27 victory.

Michael Williams led the Cannon County rushing attack with 121 yards and a touchbdown on 18 carries, while Charlie Parrish completed 5 of 19 passes for 113 yards and three touchdowns.

Defensively, the Dragons were led by Josiah Heddings with 7 tackles and 4 assists, including three tackles for losses and one sack.

Ethan Probst had three tackles for losses, including 2 sacks, Cole Cooper had one sack, and Nathaniel Caste had a sack for a 9-yard loss.

The Dragons now advance to the opening round of the TSSAA State Playoffs, and will host the first round on Friday, November 2 when they will take on Signal Mountain, who comes into the game with a 4-6 record, but is a team that cannot be overlooked.

“Signal Mountain has a good quarterback, who was injured and missed some games, but is back now and has won two of the last 3 games” Coach Wright said. “They run a spread offense, very similar to what we saw from Upperman.  They like to throw the deep ball, so our secondary is going to have to be ready and we need to keep some pressure on the quarterback,” he concluded.

Read the rest of the statistics in this weeks Fentress Courier.