November 10, 2012

Nothing but red

Dalton dominates Pickens, grabs spot in state playoffs

TUNNEL HILL — In a do-or-die situation, Dalton High’s football team put together its most complete game of the year.

Sparked by a running game which couldn’t be stopped, a defense that was opportunistic and a little lucky in the first half — and completely dominating in the second — the Catamounts rolled.

Behind more than 400 yards of total offense and 186 yards on the ground from sophomore tailback Kelvis Rhodes, Dalton marched into the Class 4A state playoffs with a 42-0 domination of Pickens in a Region 7-4A play-in game Friday night at Harmon Field. It was a performance that was head-shaking after Dalton had struggled in back-to-back victories over Heritage-Catoosa and Southeast Whitfield — two teams that combined for two wins this season.

“It’s been here (all season), but tonight the old ball bounced our way,” Dalton coach Matt Land said after his team improved to 7-3. “We got some breaks and that is what you want, but a lot of our breaks were made by players making plays.”

 Dalton, the No. 2 seed from Sub-region 7B, advances to state as the No. 3 seed from the region. Ridgeland defeated River Ridge 48-14 for the region championship, and both teams host playoff games next Friday in the first round. Dalton travels to Atlanta to face Region 6-4A runner-up Carver, which lost 42-14 in the Region 6 title game to second-ranked Marist. It was ninth-ranked Carver’s first loss of the season.

Pickens (5-5) entered the game as the No. 3 seed from Sub-region 7A, but the Dragons were done in by an interception, a failed fourth-down conversion and a dropped touchdown pass.

Early in the game, neither defense was dialed in, but an interception by Dalton’s Eder Mora ended the Dragons’ first drive as Pickens flew down the field following a Dalton fumble. The Cats wasted little time in driving 72 yards in six plays with Rhodes’ 46-yard run on a toss sweep doing most of the damage.

Two plays later, quarterback Cole Calfee scored on the first of his two touchdown runs in the first half for a 7-0 lead with 5:42 left in the first quarter.

Pickens took over on offense at its own 20-yard line, and picked apart the Dalton defense. The Dragons had a first-and-goal from the Dalton 8 before the Cats stiffened. Mora had a tackle for a loss before Tanner Brumby rolled out on fourth-and-goal from the 5 and was swarmed by Dalton to end the threat.

“When we did it, the crowd and the players all got crazy,” senior defensive end Laighton Reese said. “We loved it and we’ve got to keep playing like that.”

The Dalton offense responded with a 93-yard, 12-play drive that was a mix of Rhodes on the toss off tackle, Mora in at fullback on the trap and a surprise strike from Calfee to Brandon Dale for 36 yards. Calfee capped off the drive with a 1-yard plunge on a counter option play on fourth down from the 1.

Still, even down 14-0, Pickens had a chance to get back in the game, driving from its 20 and steadily marching down the field. However, a pair of offsides calls pushed the Dragons back and Brumby’s fourth-down pass to Brandon Brooks, who was wide open at the Dalton 5-yard line, was dropped.

Just six plays later, Dalton had a 21-0 lead as Rhodes wrapped it up with an 18-yard scoring run. On the drive, Rhodes and senior fullback Robert Hardaway accounted for all 68 yards.

Text Only
  • SE fball conditioning 1 mlh.jpg Prep football: Raiders enter preseason hoping for breakthrough

    Entering his third year as Southeast Whitfield High School’s football coach, Sean Gray believes the last obstacle is belief.
    He believes this group of Raiders has that quality.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Devin Golden: Other sports start practice this week

    Football isn’t the only high school sport during the fall — and the others are joining in this week.

    July 28, 2014

  • Three locals on NW team in state golf event

    Three local golfers — Hardin Chambless, Tori Owens and Landon Painter — played Sunday in round one of the Junior Sectional Challenge Match.

    July 28, 2014

  • DHS fball condition#1C0E6F8.jpg Prep football: Dalton enters camp well ahead of learning curve

    The joke came quick to the lips of Dalton High School football coach Matt Land when asked how the opening day of conditioning for the Catamounts went on Friday.
    “We can quit and go home,” Land said. “They have it all figured out.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Baseball_Chan.jpg Making a trip into town

    Frank Thomas was always driven to excel, and that sure served him well.
    “I was never that blue-chip prospect,” he said. “I had to outwork my opponents.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Baseball_Chan2.jpg Chris Whitfield: Memories stay with us, and go with them

    I still remember the pandemonium that broke out in the dorm at Middle Georgia College in tiny Cochran, Ga., the night of “The Slide” in the 1992 National League Championship Series. It was a fire drill, wall street-buying frenzy and a Roman toga party all in one.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Deshawn Ruffin Sign#1C0E79A.jpg Dalton State College signs PG from Florida

    Dalton State College announced signing a Jacksonville, Fla., prep basketball standout to its men’s basketball team.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • DHS vs RHS fball xtra 7 mlh.jpg Totally focused on fútbol

    In order to chase his soccer dream and continue to mature and improve in the sport that he loves so much, Dalton High School athlete Eder Mora has decided to make a sacrifice — giving up football.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Whitfield, Chris.JPG Chris Whitfield: Football fans may lose, but Mora will win with decision

    Throughout my career, I have been lucky enough to see some of the finest athletes this state has ever produced. From professional athletes who went on to the NFL, MLB and the NBA to college washouts who still rank as the finest high school athletes I have ever seen, I have been blessed.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • CHS fball conditioning 6 mlh.jpg Christian Heritage enters camp with many questions to answer

    In the first day of conditioning for local high school football teams, Christian Heritage coach Preston Poag didn’t decide any of the position battles that his team faces this year after losing a strong senior class.
    But there will be plenty of those battles to come.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

Devin Golden's sports updates
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp