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Friday, March 23, 2018

Lightning strikes Red Devils too late

By Anthony Varriano

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

The Dawson County High School football team started even hotter than the temperature at kickoff, but a storm blew through and cooled them off, as the Glasgow Scotties won Dawson’s home opener 22-20 at Perham Field, Friday.

DCHS junior Robby Keiser nearly forced a midnight overtime with a long touchdown recpetion in the closing minute of regulation, but Glendive’s two chances to convert a two-point attempt to tie it at 22 were one too few.

“It’s disappointing, but they came back and battled, and we had ourselves a chance at the end there. That’s all I can ask,” said DCHS head coach Ryan Buckley.

The Scotties got the ball first, and junior Cade Dockter took it right back with an interception on Glasgow’s third play from scrimmage. He started under center at the Scotties’ 48-yard line, and junior Jameson Crisafulli nearly ran for a first down on the first play. Dockter picked up the rest on the next play, but the Devils couldn’t get another first down, turning it over on downs to Glasgow on their own 27 yard line.

The Devil defense stuffed Glasgow to get the ball back at their own 38 yard line. This time, the Devils managed to get a couple of first downs on a pair of Dockter keepers. He  then completed his second pass attempt for a first down and showed off his wheels on a 25-yard touchdown. Johnathan Egan missed the point-after wide right, leaving it 6-0 after a quarter of play.

Dawson’s depth at running back was evident and effective early, but faded late. Senior Connor James provided a nice, nine-yard run on the Devils’ next drive, and Dockter capped it with a one-yard touchdown run. He was back in the endzone for a third time, converting the two-point attempt with his legs to extend the lead to 14-0 in his first game as starting quarterback. 

The Scotties got a lot of help from the Devils on their next drive, though. Two consecutive slippery snaps resulted in Glendive losing roughly 30 yards and punting from its own endzone. The Scotties took advantage.

Glasgow’s senior quarterback Benji Phillips showed off his big arm all night, overthrowing his receivers early, but he found a rhythm in the second quarter. He hit senior Trent Herbert on a short touchdown to cap the team’s first scoring drive, making it 14-6 with 3:43 left in the half. 

Another opening night miscue gave Glasgow more hope, as Crisafulli ran for first-down yardage but lost the ball on his next carry through traffic. The Scotties recovered in DCHS territory. The Dawson defense forced a fourth and nine, but Phillips had his prayer answered by senior tight end Luke Bregenzer, who elevated over the tight Devil defense to snatch the touchdown and bring the Scotties within two. 

Glasgow got pretty lucky again, as a Red Devil blitz nearly got to Phillips on the two-point attempt, but the veteran managed to sneak the ball out to sophomore Cade Myrick just before being sacked. In three minutes, the Devils’ 14-point lead was gone, and they had a lot of time to think about it.

Play was delayed for nearly an hour due to lightning, and a storm blew through knocking trees down just a few blocks from the Oakland Athletic Complex. 

Both teams were moving in the wrong direction after the delay. Penalty flags blanketed the field in the third quarter and were the only source of offense. 

Difficulty completing the snap continued for Dawson to start the third, and a three-and-out resulted. Buckley said his center, Baxter Baker, has been at the position for just a week, and that “he just needs more reps.” 

Crisafulli managed to give his team a big break with a nice punt to the Scotties’ 34 yard line. Keiser followed it up with a tackle for a two-yard loss, and Glendive kept moving Glasgow backwards with a team tackle for loss to force a punt.

Keiser made another tackle for a five-yard loss, but a DCHS personal foul gave Glasgow the first positive yardage and first down of the second half.

A great punt out of bounds pinned Glendive at its own 13 yard line, and the Devils kept moving toward their own endzone due to penalties.

Glasgow got a safety to start the second-half scoring and pull ahead 16-14. After receiving the free kick, the Scotties found their running game until a fumbled snap resulted in a fourth and long. Jayden Holley got a hand on the fourth-down pass to force the turnover, and Glendive was in great position to retake the lead with just over half the field to go.

Glasgow’s defense figured out Glendive’s running game in the third quarter, but back-to-back personal fouls resulted in 30 yards of offense for the Devils.

Junior Tyler Clapp ended the Devils’ first-down drought with a nice rush, but Glendive couldn’t build on the limited offensive success. 

Dockter made a game-saving play on defense to force a big fourth and short that Glasgow failed to convert on a surprising pass play.

With four minutes left, the Devils were faced with a long field but had the ball. Senior Jory Opp collected a five-yard catch to kick off the drive, and Connor James moved the chains with three minutes left.

A sack by Glasgow kept the clock running and had Dawson facing second and long. The Devils just kept moving backwards, forcing a Hail Mary from Dockter that was intercepted and returned by Breigenzer.

Phillips ran in for a touchdown to put the game seemingly out of reach, but a missed point-after kept it a one-score game, 22-14.

Then Keiser electrified the crowd, reeling in a pass from Dockter and running for the endzone to give his team a chance to force overtime with a two-point conversion.

Defensive pass interference gave Glendive a second chance to score two points, but another pass play ended with Dockter on his back in the backfield and Glasgow celebrating.

“We’re going to face some adversity right away,” Buckley said. “Let’s see how we handle it.”

The Red Devils travel to Livingston, Friday and kickoff at 7 p.m.

The froshmore Red Devils beat Glasgow 20-12, with Nelson Crisafulli running for a 20-yard touchdown. Ephrain Yohan got a good workout in the afternoon heat, running for a pair of touchdowns — one of 98 yards and another of 43 yards.

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