Daingerfield defeats DeKalb in wild match


SULFUR SPRINGS, Texas — Two second-half turnovers from DeKalb and an explosive play from Daingerfield turned the tide in their Class 3A, Division II football game on Friday at Gerald Prim Stadium.

The Tigers, who had to pull themselves together after three deficits against the Bears, scored in the first play of the second half and denied DeKalb in the final 24 minutes to claim a wild 29-22 playoff victory.

Daingerfield (10-2) advances to face Newton (11-1) in the regional semi-final next week. The Bears’ season ends at 9-3.

DeKalb had 332 total rushing yards — 236 on 49 carries. Kiondre Schlesinger had 15 carries for 80 yards, Amar Love 10 for 53 and a touchdown, and Kayden Wherry eight for 36.

Xavier Hawkins had two rushes and 66 receiving yards, while Kaleb Dooley had 5 of 10 passes for 96 yards, both touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Tigers finished with 289 yards of total offense, got a 48-yard TD catch from Jakevian Rodgers to start the second half after Braden Lewis had two scoring receptions in the first half.

Sophomore quarterback Chase Johnson completed 12 of 17 passes for 163 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed eight times for 53 yards and D’Co Wright added 13 carries for 70 yards and a score. Rodgers had three catches for 65 yards, Lewis four for 51 and Kenny Mosley three for 45 yards and the killer interception.

The Tigers regained the lead with a snap in the second half, Rodgers beating his defender and running under a perfectly thrown 48-yard bomb by Johnson just 20 seconds into the third quarter.

The Bears responded with a 15-game drive, which included a pair of 4th-point conversions but ended inside the 10 after a fumble that was recovered by Daingerfield’s CJ Gilbert for a touchdown.

The Bears forced a 3-and-out but had to kick a punt, which was saved by DeKalb’s Conrad Crouch on the goal line. In five plays, the Tigers were out at the 40-yard line but had to punt near midfield.

DeKalb was moving once again for a potential tie when Mosley intercepted a through pass to put the game away.

After both teams’ initial training sessions were stopped early, it appeared infringements would no longer be denied the remainder of the first half.

Daingerfield scored on three of five possessions, and the Bears entered the end zone three of six practices. DeKalb took a 22-21 locker room lead at intermission after converting a pair of 2-point conversions in the first half.

Xavier Hawkins had two touchdown receptions in the first half for DeKalb and the second 2-point conversion on a pass from Dooley, who raced for the first 2-pointer after Hawkins’ 1-handed catch turned into a 43-yard touchdown with 2:17 left in the first quarter.

Lewis also had two first-half catches for the Tigers, covering 30 yards and 6 yards.

After a Bears 3-and-out, Daingerfield had just four snaps when Bears defensive lineman Tyler Hawkins intercepted a pass to give his team possession at Daingerfield 37.

Six plays later, Xavier Hawkins notched a 23-yard touchdown with 6:08 left in the first. Just 57 seconds later, Lewis was dancing in the end zone on a 30-yard strike from Johnson to level the score, and John Solis’ extra kick gave the Tigers a 7-6 lead with 5:11. on the first quarter clock.

Xavier Hawkins’ second TD capped a 5-play, 61-yard drive and Dooley blasted his way in for the 2-point conversion to make it 14-7 DeKalb with 2:17 left in the first.

Daingerfield went down to 1 before Ross Tapley fended off the Tigers on back-to-back plays, but Lewis landed the 6-yard throw for the score with 11:17 left in the second quarter. Tapley also blocked the PAT to keep the Bears in front, but the Tiger defense delivered another 3-and-out.

This time, Daingerfield rushed for 67 yards in nine plays with Wright blasting his way in from 4 with 6:55 left, and Johnson ran for the 2-point conversion to make it 21-14 for the Tigers.

Love finished the Bears’ 8-play, 60-yard campaign with his 16-yard run with 3:07 left in the half, and Dooley tossed the 2-pointer to Hawkins from behind the end zone for take the lead.

Daingerfield’s ensuing drive ended in a 3-and-out, and the Bears rolled inside the red zone before the drive was halted on a failed fourth down attempt. The Tigers got the ball back with 2 seconds left and played a game before heading into halftime.


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