Dixie Shoots Down Arrows
J. C. Tilton
Coming into the game Shawnee had just won a squeaker over Northridge for their first win of the season, while Dixie was coming off of losses to Bellbrook and Fort Loramie. They appeared to be teams heading in different directions. In the first half Shawnee borrowed a page from Fort Loramie - try to establish the run and keep the Dixie spread offense on the sidelines. On the other hand, Dixie needed to stop the run and use their big play offense to put points on the board and force the other team to play catch up.
Dixie got off to an awkward start. They started a drive on their own 25, only to fumble the ball away a few plays later. Shawnee took advantage of the gift. Cody Byrd snagged a John Keller pass to put Shawnee up early 7-0. Now it was up to Dixie to respond. It did not take long as Eddie Bellman took the ensuing kickoff back 85 yards for a touchdown. The extra point tied up the game at 7 all.
Shawnee started their next drive on their own 35 yard line. Cody Byrd carried the ball to midfield on a reverse and the Arrows were starting to threaten again. Robbie Lakes planted the ball on the Dixie 22 - momentum was shifting back to Shawnee. But the Dixie defense was up to the challenge, hard tackling forced the ball loose and Curtis Tuttle fell on the ball to end the Arrow threat. The Greyhounds moved the ball to midfield thanks to a Tyler Wilson carry. Now it was time to take to the air as Nick Miller connected with Steven Livingston for a first down on the Shawnee 25. But the drive sputtered from here as the Greyhounds self destructed. A holding call, and then later an unsportsmanlike penalty put Dixie at a 4th and 25 situation. This forced a punt.
Shawnee began their drive on the 20 yard line. Robbie Lakes garnered a first down at the 31. Again the Dixie defense forced a fumble with Aaron Bingham falling on the loose pigskin. The Dixie offense had a short field, could they take advantage? Not this drive, the stubborn Shawnee defense dug in their heels and Dixie could not generate any yardage. On 4th and 9 the pass fell incomplete and Shawnee took over.
Cody Byrd caught a pass to give Shawnee some breathing room at midfield. But a holding penalty would place Shawnee in a long yardage situation, finally forcing a punt. But a shanked punt would only net the Arrows less than 15 yards - giving Dixie the ball close to midfield. Dixie mixed in the run and pass to put Shawnee on their heels. Ben Spahr caught a critical pass to give Dixie a first down a the Shawnee 15. Tyler Wilson would plant the ball on the Shawnee 2 yard line for another first down - giving Dixie 4 tries for a touchdown. Nick Miller found Ben Spahr and completed the pass to give Dixie their first lead of the night.
On the ensuing kickoff the ball slipped away from the Shawnee return man and Dixie's Aaron Bingham fell on the ball. There were 19 seconds left in the half and clock management became critical as Dixie did not want to let this opportunity slip away. Could the team make this opportunity count? The team remained poised and managed the waning seconds well. Then Ben Spahr made another timely catch at the Shawnee 8 and from there Nick Miller called his own number and ran into the endzone to put Dixie up by two scores 19-7. Coach Genslinger would later admit that this was not a called play - Nick saw an opening and took it.
In the third quarter Shawnee would answer with a John Keller to Jeff Russell TD pass. This pulled Shawnee within 5 19-14. But the 4th quarter was all Dixie. First Tyler Wilson would score on a 12 yard run. Then Eddie Bellman would break loose on a 33 yard touchdown. To cap the scoring, Dixie would score the final points of the game on a safety. The final score would be 33-14 in favor of the Greyhounds.
Coach Genslinger gave credit to his defense - “They held Shawnee in tough situations and the offense kept getting a short field from the defense, we did not have to drive that far to score”. The stats bear that out, the Arrows and Dixie had comparable yardage, but Dixie was able to score more due to the short field. He was also happy that, “The team is becoming more aggressive, they are learning what it takes to win; their hard work is starting to pay off”. When asked to look forward to the Northridge game Coach Genslinger responded that this was a team that he respected. Dixie would have to play them tough and hard and continue to do the little things right - such as penalty yardage. The team had 56 yards in penalties this game, one of the lowest totals of the season.
Game stats: Receiving Dixie: Ben Spahr 7-97yds 1TD; Steven Livingston 3-53yds; Joey Blosser 1-9. PS: Steven Hale 2-49yds; Cody Byrd 2-46 1TD; Jeff Russell 2-36yds 1TD.
Rushing Dixie: Eddie Bellman 17-74yds; Wilson Tyler 12-44yds; Nick Miller 15-19yds. PS: Clark Garret 9-91yds, Cody Byrd 10-35, Robbie Lakes 8-24. John Keller 8(-14) Passing Dixie: 11-16 157yds, 1TD. PS: John Keller 6-16 131yds 2TD. Comments: email: Chris Tilton