It may have taken them a couple of weeks, but the Dickinson Gators finally logged in their first win in District 24-6A, beating the Clear Springs Chargers 35-14 on Saturday afternoon at Challenger Columbia Stadium.
Trailing 14-7 at the half, the Gators’ offense woke up in the second half, scoring 28 unanswered points to take a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Dickinson snapped its two game losing streak in district play with Saturday’s win.
“It’s been a while since Dickinson lost back-to-back district games,” said Dickinson head coach John Snelson. “Dickinson is a great place, but when you’re losing, not so much. But the confidence factor is really big for us.”
Dickinson (3-2 overall, 1-2 in district play) scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to break away.
It was the first loss in district play for the Chargers (3-2, 2-1).
“We didn’t play well from the start,” said Clear Springs head coach Craig Dailey. “We didn’t play very disciplined on both sides. You can’t do that in this district.”
Dickinson quarterback Cameron Collins went 14 of 23 for 225 yards and two touchdowns while Clear Springs quarterback Garrett Rooker went 12 of 25 for 154 yards and a touchdown.
Dickinson running back Myles Lewis had 20 carries for 96 rushing yards.
For the Chargers, running back Todd Hudson had 170 rushing yards from 19 carries and a touchdown.
Montel Parker had four receptions for 75 yards for the Gators. Wide receiver Peyton Sawyer had one reception for 65 yards for the Chargers.
Dickinson started the game with good field position after Parker took the opening kick to the Gators’ 45 and then a personal foul penalty on the Chargers moved the ball into Clear Springs territory at the 40.
But the Gators were forced to punt and it was the Chargers that scored first when Rooker hooked up with Sawyer, who was wide open for a 65-yard touchdown pass with 8:42 left in the first quarter.
A Gators interception turned into their first scoring drive, complete with Parker throwing to wide receiver Jalen Wydermyer on a trick play pass for a 24-yard touchdown to tie the game at 3:52 in the first quarter.
“We have explosive football players,” Snelson said. “We just have to give them the football. We had great blocking and our defense played very well. When our defense plays with confidence, we all do.”
Linebacker James Wokaty picked off Collins for the Chargers’ first interception of the afternoon late in the first quarter, and Clear Springs took over at Dickinson’s 41.
With both teams dominating on defense, the Chargers broke the 7-7 deadlock right before halftime on Hudson’s 76-yard touchdown run up the Clear Springs sideline with 1:25 remaining in the first half.
With 28 seconds left in the second quarter, Collins threw to the end zone for Parker but the quarterback overthrew his intended target. Clear Springs took a 14-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Chargers fumbled the kick return at the start of the second half and the Gators recovered.
On the next play, Wydermyer’s 34-yard touchdown reception tied the game at 14.
On the Gators’ next drive, Collins connected with Parker on a 53-yard touchdown pass and Dickinson took its first lead of the day 21-14 with 6:31 left in the third quarter.
The Gators kept their foot on the gas pedal with a 64-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyler Jackson to give Dickinson a 28-14 lead with 2:47 remaining in the third quarter.
With less than a minute in the third quarter, the Chargers turned the ball over at Dickinson’s 32 after Rooker’s pass for wide receiver Michael Gillaspia fell incomplete and the Gators took over.
“We didn’t handle the pressure up front,” Dailey said. “Our line couldn’t handle it.”
The Chargers’ offense went cold in the second half and an interception by the Gators with 9:12 left on the clock allowed Dickinson’s offense to take over and start draining from the clock.
“It was a big deal,” Snelson said. “I thought our offense did a good job of getting first downs but our defense did a great job of pinning them in their own territory.”
Keeping the ball on the ground, the Gators found the end zone on a 17-yard touchdown run by Lewis with 4:32 left.
Up next for the Gators will be a home game against Alvin (2-3, 0-3) at 7 p.m. Friday. The Chargers will play against Clear Falls (1-4, 0-3) at 7 p.m. Friday.