Dalton High School Catamounts

November 16, 2013

Bowing out

Dalton defense hangs tough, but Alexander kicks FG for victory

All season long, Dalton High School’s football team could say it hadn’t lost a game that would affect its championship dreams.

The Catamounts lost that privilege Friday — and, likewise, lost those dreams.

Alexander kicker Jeremiah Michel’s 27-yard field goal as time expired gave the visiting Cougars a 13-10 win at Harmon Field in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs. The result broke many hearts inside the stadium and crushed all hopes Dalton had of catapulting a Region 7-4A championship into a deep postseason run.

“I’m heartbroken,” Dalton coach Matt Land said. “You spend so many hours and so many late nights and early mornings ... and I know (our players’) hearts hurt.”

Dalton finished the season 8-3. Alexander (7-4) — the No. 4 seed from Region 5 — advances to play Lanier (9-2), which beat Carver-Atlanta (7-4) 26-7 in another first-round game.

Trailing 10-7 in the fourth quarter, Dalton drove from its own 35-yard line to the red zone, but a costly penalty prevented the Catamounts from taking the lead. On first-and-goal from the Alexander 10, Zek Cobb rushed to the left and found his way to the end zone, but the officials flagged Dalton for holding, pushing the ball back to the 20. Four plays later, Dalton settled for a 29-yard field goal from Kiko Rodriguez to tie the game with 3:25 remaining.

“That’s a play that will hurt,” Land said of the holding call, “because it’s a four-point swing. ... It didn’t just hurt our drive; it cost us points.”

The Cats needed a stop from their defense, but the Cougars and running back Mikell Lands-Davis had their eyes on a game-winning drive. Lands-Davis, who finished the game with 176 of his team’s 180 rushing yards on 38 carries, rushed eight times for 43 yards on the final possession. After a 9-yard run from Lands-Davis, Michel came on to seal Dalton’s fate.

Alexander, which entered averaging 32.3 points, was held to its second-lowest scoring output of the season. The Cougars gained 311 yards, while the Catamounts gained 227.

“If we had done enough to win,” senior linebacker Lyle Durham said, “they wouldn’t have scored at all. It wasn’t enough to win.”

Dalton enjoyed its best regular season since 2007, the last time the program won a region championship. Similar to this year, the 2007 Catamounts also saw their season end in the first round and on the last play of the game, 21-19 against Cherokee.

Dalton started the 2013 season with losses to non-region opponents Ringgold and Gilmer — both games without standout junior running back Kelvis Rhodes, who saw limited action Friday due to mononucleosis, Land said — but the Cats proved those losses unimportant with eight straight wins, including five sub-region games and a victory at Gilmer for the Region 7-4A title last week.

Alexander was searching for its first postseason win since the 1996 season. The Cougars’ closest regular-season win was a 33-19 victory against LaGrange.

“To be able to win a close football game and to grind it out is huge,” Alexander coach Matthew Combs said. “They’ve never done something like that. We could’ve folded a lot of times.”

After a scoreless first quarter, Lands-Davis entered the end zone on a 6-yard run with 3:11 to play before halftime. Dalton didn’t waste time responding as tight end Chase Westfall found an open spot in Alexander’s zone, quarterback Payton Veraldi found him and Westfall tied the game with a 46-yard touchdown catch with 1:07 left before halftime.

Michel’s first field goal, a 36-yarder, gave Alexander a 10-7 lead with 10:20 left in the game.

Dalton running back Tyler Noland had nine rushes for 34 yards, while Veraldi had eight carries for 42 yards along with 83 yards passing. Rhodes finished with 3 yards on a pair of carries.

1
Text Only
Dalton High School Catamounts
  • NW_DHS Swimming 6 mlh.jpg Todd leaving DHS swim after 16 years

    Throughout his 17 years with the Carpet Capital Aquatic Club and his 16 years with the Dalton High and Dalton Middle School swim programs, Charles Todd has received looks and offers from other areas.
    But with his youngest child Chase still in school and his wife playing a major role in the Whitfield County Division of Family and Children Services, Todd wasn’t looking to make a move.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7on7 championship game6.jpg Bringing in the best

    When high school football coaches look for events to take their teams to during the summer, they are looking for three things — top competition, organization and hospitality.
    For The Daily Citizen’s Southeastern 7-on-7 Championship, the Dalton community and local business leaders take care of the latter. The tournament officials work tirelessly to provide the organization. And the two combined assure the top competition will show up.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wil Cushman 3 mlh.jpg Cushman’s gamble is paying off

    Wil Cushman never had to worry about establishing his high school’s swimming and diving program. Dalton already had a full roster and championship history.
    His first two years at Birmingham Southern University, though, have been all about making sure the beginning wasn’t the end.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NW softball state championship file 1 mlh.jpg In the lineup again

    When Northwest Whitfield repeated as the Georgia High School Association Class 4A softball state champion last fall, that appeared to be the last time the majority of the Lady Bruins’ senior class would be teammates on the diamond.
    Now, thanks to the Stump on Sports All-Star Softball Classic, five of those six seniors will reunite to play together one more time.

    June 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Junior golf: Hicks able to hang for final round

    Despite giving up a few strokes from Monday’s opening round of 4-over-par 76, Dalton’s Landon Hicks was the only local competitor to advance to the third round of the Georgia Junior Championships.

    June 18, 2014

  • Isabel Salinas 5 mlh.jpg All-Area Spring Female Team: Salinas hoping things keep getting better and better with age

    Isabel Salinas’ freshman season for Southeast Whitfield High School’s track and field team wasn’t up to her standards, and she really isn’t sure why it ended up that way in 2013. It could have been her injuries. It could have been not being in proper shape.
    One thing Salinas, nicknamed “Izzy” by friends and coaches, does know is that her sophomore year went a lot better.

    June 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • poty seth.jpg All-Area Baseball Team and Player of the Year

    As a freshman at Northwest Whitfield High School, Seth Pierce came out of nowhere and was as dominant a pitcher as the area had. Finishing his “rookie” season with the Bruins, the left-handed Pierce led the area with nine victories — he also had one save — and showed overpowering dominance with a 9-3 record and 89 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings. He finished his first season on the hill in Tunnel Hill with a 1.71 ERA while allowing 61 hits and 23 walks. Those numbers were also recorded against competition in a higher classification as the Bruins were playing Class 4A ball when the state had just five classifications. His performance earned him honors as 2012 The Daily Citizen All-Area Baseball Player of the Year.

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carlile signing 3 mlh.jpg Carlile gets a chance to grind

    As Dylan Carlile saw more and more of his peers receiving offers from college wrestling programs, he became nervous.
    The Dalton High School grappler had nothing to worry about, because when the time came, he had his choice.

    May 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • daltongirls.JPG Dalton girls finish second in Class 4A

    In the Class 4A girls state golf tournament last year, the Dalton High School team finished third at Nob North Golf Course. Monday, playing in the state championship at Waynesboro Country Club, the Lady Catamounts finished second by just two strokes.
    “There is just one more place left to win,” Dalton coach Nancy Hallsworth said. “They have the time ahead of them to do it.”

    May 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • dhs bass signing1.jpg Nelson keeps a tight line

    Multiple high school athletes from the area sign scholarships each year for baseball, basketball, football, softball, volleyball and many other sports.
    Bass fishing scholarships? There aren’t many of those.

    May 20, 2014 1 Photo