The Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs (7-0, 4-0) jumped out to an early lead and used four fourth quarter interceptions, three for touchdowns, to defeat the Dickson Chaos (6-1, 3-1) 28-3 in Lawdawg Conference play this past Saturday. The defense recorded seven interceptions total.
“Our defense got angry and made some plays,” said Bulldawg defensive coordinator Cromwell Stewart. “It was nice to us forcing turnovers. Our guys were flying around and playing inspired football.”
The Bulldawgs defense stop the Chaos on the opening possession of the game. After a questionable fair catch call and penalty put them deep into their own territory, Keon Bohannon and Rayvion Wade went to work. Wade caught three passes on the drive from quarterback Jason Hankins. Bohannon had three carries for 57 yards that put the Bulldawgs in scoring possession. The drive stalled but kicker Tim Brecht kicked a 27-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
“We wanted to get off to a good start and that was a key,” said Bulldawg offensive coordinator Torrian Hall. “That was probably our best drive of the year. We went 90 yards but didn’t get in the end zone. We came out with a plan and ran it well.”
The Bulldawg’s second series produced a touchdown. Once again it was Wade and Bohannon carrying much of the load. Wade, who ended the game with five receptions for 117 yards, almost scored on a pass from Hankins. On the next play, Bohannon punched it in from one yard away to give his team a 9-0 lead. Dickson then got on the board with a 37-yard field goal. The Bulldawgs then drove the ball deep into Chaos territory but ran out of time before the half.
The third quarter started off rough for the Bulldawgs. Chris Perkins took the kickoff down the right sidelines and was off to the races but was stripped by a Chaos defender with the ball being recovered at the Bulldawg 49-yard line. Bulldawg safety Twin Johnson stopped the drive when he with an interception, which started a string of four straight interceptions by the Bulldawgs.
The play of the game came right before the end of the third quarter. Perkins made up for his fumble with an interception deep in Bulldawg territory. The turnover was set up by a huge hit by defensive back Randall Smith. Perkins returned the ball to the 50-yard line. Three Dickson players argued with the officials that Smith’s hit was illegal. The argument forced one to be ejected.
“That play seemed to get them off their game,” said Smith. “I was going for the ball and we collided. When the ball is in the air it is free game. We need a big play then and we made it.”
The defense then scored on three consecutive possessions. Johnson, the Play It Again Sports Player of the Game, scored two sandwiched by defensive back mate DeQuinn Watford’s pick six. Johnson, who now has five interceptions on the season, came in the fourth quarter with some incentive. He was determined for his team not to lose.
“I got mad,” said Johnson. “One of their players and I got into an altercation so we took it upon ourselves to make something happen. They claimed to have the number one defensive in the league so we took that personal. Our offense scored on them twice and they scored on us once. That should prove to everyone who is the best.”
Dickson, winners of the 2016 Middle Tennessee Football League, was kept out the end zone for the first time since a 56-0 defeat last season to the Franklin Panthers. The victory makes the Bulldawgs the top seed in the playoffs which start on Saturday. Since the two teams are in the same conference, they are primed for a match-up on May 6th in the MTFL semi-finals. First the Bulldawgs must defeat the Middle Tennessee Tigers and the Chaos will have to beat the Franklin Panthers.
“The playoffs are here and we have to start all over again,” said Bulldawg head coach Blaine Boone. Winning today means nothing if we lose in the playoffs. We are happy with the win but we have more work to do.”