October 12, 2013

Catamounts win by a foot

Rodriguez field goal good as time expires

TUNNEL HILL — Only three seconds remained in Friday night’s high school football game between intracounty rivals Dalton and Northwest Whitfield.

As Catamounts kicker Kiko Rodriguez lined up for a 25-yard field goal, the majority of the over-capacity crowd inside Bruin Stadium desperately wanted him to miss.

They, along with the Bruins players, wanted overtime. They wanted the score to stay 28-28. They wanted the first win in the series since 2004.

“No pressure,” Rodriguez said.

With one confident motion, his kick ended the game 31-28 in Dalton’s favor, ended Northwest’s quest for an undefeated season, diminished the Bruins’ hopes of a Region 7-4A title and continued the Cats’ domination of their Sub-region 7B-4A rivals with a seventh straight victory in the series, which now leans 28-5 in Dalton’s favor.

The estimated 6,500 fans expressed opposite reactions. The Dalton side erupted. The Northwest fans went silent. To get there, the Cats (4-2, 2-0) drove 73 yards in 2:06, passing only once and running six times with a healthy dose of quarterback Payton Veraldi and running back Kelvis Rhodes — the latter rushing 23 times for 199 yards in the game.

Running the football, even when conventional wisdom thinks to pass, is just the way Dalton does things.

“That’s our two-minute offense. Can’t you tell?” Dalton coach Matt Land joked, at first. “Honestly, we wanted to try and set up a couple pass plays with the run. We ripped off two big run plays to get us comfortable.”

The Cats now sit alone in first place in the sub-region standings with Southeast Whitfield’s 35-20 loss to Ridgeland. Northwest (5-1, 1-1) is now looking at an extremely important game next week against the Panthers, who also are 1-1 in league standings.

The Bruins tied the game with 2:06 to play when quarterback Caleb Shiflett found wide receiver Dylan Joyce on an 18-yard touchdown.

It was one of two touchdown passes for Shiflett, who finished 11 of 19 for 156 yards.

Earlier in the quarter, Rhodes scored from 12 yards away with 8:32 to play to give Dalton its first lead of the game at 28-21. The possession continued after a roughing the kicker penalty on a 40-yard missed field goal from Rodriguez. Rhodes’ other score came on a 4-yard run to tie the game 21-21 with 4:10 left in the third quarter.

Northwest owned almost all of the first quarter. On the Bruins’ first offensive play, wide receiver Tevin McDaniel caught a screen pass from Shiflett for a 68-yard score with 7:47 on the clock. McDaniel broke four tackles and cut back across the field at around midfield.

Northwest’s next possession went 71 yards in 13 plays, and Jacob Webb’s 2-yard score with 1:04 on the clock was his 11th run on the drive and gave the Bruins a 14-0 lead.

Veraldi took the second play of Dalton’s next drive 55 yards on the last play of the opening quarter and he scored on a 2-yard sneak with 10:17 left in the second quarter. Eder Mora’s 4-yard run tied the game with 2:36 left before halftime, a drive set up by a 46-yard pass to wideout Peter Sigmon. Veraldi finished with 112 yards rushing on 16 carries and 73 yards on 5-of-7 passing.

“We were too pumped and bought into making this a little bigger than what it was, which was just another game,” Land said of the first quarter.

Northwest’s best chance to score in the second quarter was after a fourth-and-1 fake punt run by Clay Phillips for 17 yards. On the next play, with the ball at Dalton’s 25, cornerback Jordon McKinney intercepted a Shiflett pass in the end zone with 5:39 on the clock.

“Games between good teams always boil down to a couple plays,” Northwest coach Josh Robinson said. “Was that a big play? Yes. Also, penalties for them getting first downs and messing up on coverages (also was big).”

The Bruins opened the second half with an 11-play, 69-yard drive finished by Webb’s 1-yard scoring run with 8:13 on the clock. Webb finished with 31 carries for 151 yards.

“I’m proud of our team,” Webb said. “This is the first time playing a close game into the fourth quarter. ... We tried to get the job done and came up a little short, but it’s all right, though.”

Text Only
  • DSCsoccer2.jpg Ready to get started: Roadrunners add Daser as soccer director

    Dalton State College athletic director Derek Waugh called Kerem Daser a good “fit” as the Roadrunners’ new soccer director.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • CreekFootball.jpg Coahulla Creek enters new era with Barger

    VARNELL — With just two varsity football seasons to its credit and little success in the win column so far, Coahulla Creek High School doesn’t yet have what one would call a proud football history.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rush turning to Gold's

    Dalton is gaining a Gold’s Gym, but losing The Rush Fitness Complex.

    July 30, 2014

  • Dalton State College hires Kerem Daser as soccer director

    Dalton State College athletic director Derek Waugh said Tuesday that Kerem Daser, a veteran soccer coach, is the Roadrunners’ new soccer director.

    July 29, 2014

  • NW vs Cass baseball 6  mlh.jpg Thrown a curveball

    About four weeks ago, Seth Pierce and his family moved closer to Ringgold High School — a move which has big ramifications on two sports fronts. Not only will his departure affect the Northwest Whitfield High School baseball program, the move will also put him back on the football field.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NW Football3.jpg Prep football: NW Whitfield staying hungry for more success

    Northwest Whitfield High School entered the 2013 season motivated to reach the state playoffs — something the Bruins accomplished.
    This year’s team possesses the hunger to mirror last season’s successes — and possibly more.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Chris Whitfield: Ending ride (kind of) as sports writer

    T wo weeks ago, I was told by managing editor Jamie Jones that I would no longer be a full-time sports writer with The Daily Citizen. It was a mutual decision.

    July 28, 2014

  • Local trio leads NW section to 3rd place

    Tori Owens, of Chatsworth finished 11-over-par Monday in the Junior Sectional Challenge Match at The Landings Club-Marshwood and Magnolia in Savannah for third place in the girls 12-13-year-old 9-hole division. She joined Landon Painter and Hardin Chambless on the Northwest team.

    July 28, 2014

  • 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

Devin Golden's sports updates
AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando