Dooly County running back Keon Webb was leaned on heavily by the Bobcats and came through for his team. Webb totaled 133 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns before diving on an onside kick in the closing seconds to wrap up the Dooly County win.
Knotted at 15-15 coming out of halftime, Dooly County returned the opening kickoff of the second half to the Claxton 38. Four plays later, the Bobcats had a lead that they never surrendered.
DCHS 6 9 7 7 — 29
CHS 0 15 3 6 — 24
DCHS_Webb 50 run (kick failed), 1:00
CHS_Turner 6 run (Tillman kick), 7:45
DCHS_Isai Cornejo 33 field goal, 4:14
DCHS_Childs 34 pass from Miles (kick failed), 1:35
CHS_Taylor 14 run (Grant run), 0:24
DCHS_Miles 7 run (Cornejo kick), 10:40
CHS_Tillman 34 field goal, 4:09
DCHS_Webb 10 run (Cornejo kick), 1:55
CHS_Williams 18 pass from Taylor (run failed), 0:44
First downs 16 15
Total Yards 313 322
Rushes-yards 39-242 44-252
Passing 71 70
Turnovers 2 0
Penalties-Yards 6-52 6-55
RUSHING_DCHS, Webb 20-133. CHS, Taylor 23-129
PASSING_DCHS, Miles 3-4-0-71. CHS, Taylor 4-8-0-70
RECEIVING_DCHS Lundy 2-37. CHS, Small 3-52
Three keys to Dooly County's victory over Claxton...
THUNDER AND LIGHTNING: Webb’s speed was a constant threat to the Claxton defense. While the Tigers were able to corral him on the perimeter multiple times, the added danger of the 215-pound Miles powering through the middle forced Claxton to pick its poison on many occasions.
WORKING WITHOUT A NET: Claxton’s offensive line did its best while being heavily outsized by the Dooly County defensive front. Tiger runners were able to find some room to maneuver, but the constant pressure severely limited Claxton’s passing options.
DIRTY LAUNDRY: Momentum might not have swung in the Bobcats’ favor if not for one costly penalty. Zach Grant returned a punt 54 yards for a touchdown that was negated by a holding penalty. Claxton scored no points on the ensuing drive.
CLAXTON — A raucous crowd turned up at the Pecan Grove to cheer on the Claxton Tigers as they hosted their first playoff game in over a decade.
Unfortunately for the Tigers and their faithful, Dooly County proved to be a bit too much, claiming a 29-24 victory Friday night in the first round of the Class A public school state playoffs.
The Tigers (7-4) battled back from a deficit to tie the game at 15-15 at halftime and — after falling behind late — forced two Bobcat fumbles in the second half, but were unable to pull ahead.
“That was two good teams fighting hard,” Claxton coach Roderick Williams said. “A lot of credit to our guys for playing hard and a lot of credit to Dooly County for earning the win.”
As close as the final score was, the opposing offenses were just as similar.
Both the Tigers and Bobcats relied heavily on mobile quarterbacks and big-play threats at running back.
Playing in their final game for Claxton, Cornelius Taylor and Zach Grant combined for 219 rushing yards and a touchdown.
But it was the two-headed Bobcat monster of quarterback Jordan Miles (155 total yards) and Keon Webb (20 carries, 133 yards) that proved to be too much for the Tigers to handle.
Dooly County broke on to the scoreboard first as Webb ripped off a 50 yard touchdown run with just a minute remaining in the first quarter.
Claxton answered right back, driving slowly down the field before reaching the end zone on a six yard run by Tevin Turner. Dooly missed its first extra point attempt, and Dakota Tillman’s PAT following Turner’s run gave Claxton its only lead of the night.
“Our seniors like Zach and Cornelius and Dakota have been leaders for us all season,” Williams said. “They did a lot to keep us in this one.”
Dooly regained the lead with a 33 yard field goal by Isai Cornejo and a 34 yard touchdown pass from Miles to LaTorrence Childs, but Taylor raced for a 14 yard touchdown and Grant added a two-point conversion to make it 15-15 at halftime.
Claxton spent most of the second half playing catch-up as Dooly County returned the half’s opening kick to the Tiger 38 and cruised to a four-play touchdown drive capped by a 7-yard Miles run.
Tillman cut into the Bobcat advantage with a 34-yard field goal before the third quarter expired.
That Claxton drive began when Marty Chapel forced and recovered a fumble near midfield. The Tigers forced another fumble deep in their own territory on Dooly’s next possession, but couldn’t capitalize with the ball and a chance to take the lead.
“We made some big plays,” Williams said. “We did a lot to give ourselves a chance to win, but Dooly just made a few more plays than we did.”
Webb made it a two-score lead for the Bobcats with a 10-yard touchdown run with just 1:55 to play.
Claxton mounted a last-gasp effort, notching all 70 of its passing yards on its final possession. Taylor found Darnell Williams for an 18-yard touchdown strike with 44 seconds to play, but Webb delivered one final blow, falling on the ensuing kick to bring Claxton’s season to an end.
With the win, Dooly County advances to play Irwin County next week in the state quarterfinals.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.