Dragons Take Impressive 42-35 Win Over Smith County in Come-From-Behind Effort

yai-ajn_7628The York Football Dragons spotted the Smith County Owls 21 points in the first half before coming back to post a 42-35 Region 4-3A win in Carthage last week.

The Dragons, needing a win to keep their playoffs alive, saw the Owls control the game for most of the first half, as they held the Dragons to only 26 total yards and and only one first down in the first period, while rolling up 96 yards and a touchdown on a 13-yard pass from Carson Hackett to Tyler Harris.

The Owls pulled away to a 13-0 advantage as they opened the second period with a 4-play, 37-yard scoring drive capped by Hackett’s 3-yard pass to Jaylon Sheppers.  The Owls had gotten good field position on this drive  on a 34-yard punt return by Shermar King.

After holding the Dragons to only 12 yards on their next possession and yai-ajn_7965forcing another punt, Smith County extended their lead to 21-0 when Hackett completed his third touchdown pass of the night, this time to Wesley Kemp from 47 yards out, and Shermar King took a pass from Jaylon Sheppers for a 2-point conversion.

The Dragons picked up some momentum on their next possession when Mason Cravens, who had only been allowed one pass completion in the first period, threw a strike to Heath Rexroat, who took it home for a 67-yard score, and Ethan Probst booted the conversion to close the gap to 21-7 with 2:48 to go in the half.

The Owls answered quickly, taking only 21 seconds to go back up by 21 as Hackett completed his fourth touchdown pass of the game as he connected with Jaylon Sheppers for 52 yards to take a 28-7 advantage.

York’s Ethan Probst gave the Dragons good field position on the ensuing kickoff which he took at the 5 and returned it to the York 43.

Two plays later, with the Dragons facing a 3rd and 14 situation, Probst broke free for a 22-yard gain and a first down at the Smith County 39.

yai-ajn_7989Faced with another fourth down, Cravens connected with Josh Molands for an 18-yard gain to the Owl 13 for a first down, and three plays later, Cravens found Probst open in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown to close the gap to 28-13 with only seconds left in the first half.

The Dragons opened the second half by putting together an 11-play,79-yard scoring drive, which was capped by a 6-yard run by Ethan Probst to close the gap to 28-19, but saw Smith County respond with a 6-play, 79 yard drive to which saw quarterback Hackett take it in from 21 yards out, and Zach Culbreath boot his fourth extra point of the night to take a 35-19 lead with 5:27 left in the third period.

The Dragons came right back, putting together a 7-play, 65-yard scoring drive, which saw Mason Cravens pick up 50 of those yards rushing, with Probst capping the drive from a yard out and then running it in for a 2-point conversion to close the gap to 35-27 with 2:40 left in the third yai-ajn_8139period.

The Dragon defense again rose to the occasion, holding the Owls to only 5 yards and forcing a punt on their next possession, and the offense went back to work, taking only four plays to score again, when Mason Cravens broke loose for a 24-yard scamper, and then faked to Probst up the middle and ran right on the keeper play for the 2 point conversion to knot the score at 35-35 with 11:50 still remaining in the game.

The Dragon defense, which had given up over 300 yards of offense through the first three periods, practically shut down the Owl offense in the final frame, holding them to only 47 yards on 19 plays.

yai-ajn_7264After the Dragons had tied the score at 35, the game turned into a defensive duel, with each defense holding the other’s offense on their next possession.

With 6:21 left in the contest, Ethan Probst’s punt rolled dead at the Owl 1-yard line, putting Smith County into a deep hole, but they were able to pick up a couple of first downs to move out to the 25.

Following a delay of game penalty which moved the ball back to the 20, Hackett was sacked for an 8-yard loss by Zach Portillo and Trent Hancock, setting up a 4th and 24, forcing a punt.

Heath Rexroat returned the punt 23 yards to the Smith County 23, after which Mason Cravens picked up 5 to the 19, and Ethan Probst bulldozed up the middle to set up Mason Cravens’ 4-yard touchdown run to give the Dragons their  first lead of the game at 42-35 after Ethan Probst booted the conversion.

Smith County then began play at their 35 after the kickoff went out of bounds, but again the Dragon defense stepped up, resulting in a minus 3 yards on this possession and taking over on downs to hold on to the victory.

Ethan Probst gained 155 yards on 24 carries and scored two touchdowns and Mason Cravens added 112 yards on 16 carries for 112 yards, along with completing 9 of 16 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Dragons to the win.

On the defensive side of the ball, Zach Portillo had a career night with 10 solo tackles and 4 asists, including two sacks, while Cole Cooper had five tackles and 8 assists and Landrick Leffew had five solo tackles and five assists.

Quarterback Carson Hackett led the Owl offense with 126 yards rushing on 17 carries for a touchdown and completed 9 of 22 passes for another 168 yards and four touchdowns.  Andy Shoemake led the Smith County defense with 8 solo tackles and 6 assists.

With the win, the Dragons (4-6 overall and 3-3 in Region 4-3A) still have to have some help to make the playoffs.

In order for York to make the playoffs, Upperman will have to win over Sequatchie County, or Smith County will have to lose to Grundy County.

Following the game against Smith County, York head coach Derek Samber commented:  “It was a great win for us.  When we were down 21 points, it would have been easy to have laid down, but this team did not do that.  I think tonight we showed just how good a team we actually are.  This team has overcome a lot of diversity this year, but hopefully, things will fall into place and we’ll get a chance to continue on.  We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Read the rest of the statistic in this weeks Fentress Coureir.