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By Bryan Hoopaugh
Last Friday night the lights of Booster Stadium lit the stage for a district rival game versus Dixie County that left fans on the edge of their seats.
While the first quarter was dominated by defense with neither team scoring, the next three quarters gave fans what they came for.
Williston drew first blood with a 45-yard punt return by Devon Webb. After the point after was split through the uprights Williston took a 7-0 lead.
The Red Devils scored again on their next possession with a 41-yard field goal off the foot of Jorge Deciderio giving Williston a 10-0 lead with 8:17 left in the first half. A fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by junior Tad Donald gave hope for the Williston fans as the Red Devils seemed to be in the driver’s seat and in total control of anything Dixie County tried. They held a 17-0 lead with 2:35 to go in the half.
Dixie County put their first points on the board late in the second quarter only to have Williston’s Tay Hammonds return the ensuing kick off 80 yards for another Red Devil touchdown. Deciderio’s kick was good and gave Williston a 24-6 lead with only 1:25 left in the half.
An onside kick off recovered by Derek Dykstra gave Williston possession again with less than a minute to play in the half.
Quarterback Stephen Cochlin led a drive to the Dixie County 25 yard line and the field goal team came on the field to try and push the score to 27-6 at the half.
This proved to be futile as the kick was short and recovered at the five yard line by Dixie County deep back Mitchum and returned 95 yards for the score. A two point conversion made the score 24-14 going into the half.
As predicted last week, Dixie County proved to be the toughest competition for Williston thus far this season. Dixie County put the next points up with a 60 yard scamper into the end zone. After a two point conversion Williston’s lead was narrowed to only two points with the score now at 24-22.
Dixie County never once attempted a one point after conversion as they ran an offense unbalanced to the left side in what many call a swing gate play which proved unstoppable for Williston the remainder of the game.
Keith Neal would score Williston’s final touch down of the game with a scamper to the right side leaping over defenders for the score. A two point conversion now gave Williston a 32-22 lead.
With 2:47 left in the third the Bear’s had yet another big play with an 81 yard touchdown run capped with another two point conversion and the Bears gained even more ground on Williston putting the score at 32-30.
Dixie County then led off with an on-side kick which they recovered, giving them possession of the ball at mid field at the end of the third.
For the first time this season Williston was held out of the end zone the entire fourth quarter, but Dixie County was able to score on a 23 yard touchdown run with 6:30 to play in the game.
With the score now 32-38, Dixie County the defenses came alive for both teams as neither would reach the end zone the rest of the contest.
With 32 points scored, two TDs by the defense, Williston was only able to manage six first downs in the game while Dixie County mustered twelve. Each team had nine penalties; Williston for 65 yard and Dixie for 62.
This was the first game this season Williston has not had at least one rusher with over 100 yards as Webb led the team with 56 yards from scrimmage.
Tomorrow night’s game will be held in Wildwood at 7:30 p.m. facing Coach Jimbo Hale’s Wildcats. The Wildcats will enter into the game with a record of 0-3 with Williston now at 3-1.
Head Coach Jamie Baker said Wildwood has a lot of big guys on their team. Our line will have to overcome being outsized and the speed of Williston will be put to a test.
While the Wildcats are bigger players Baker said they are not near the caliber team we faced in Taylor County or Dixie County and Williston should be able to extend their record to 4-1.