By Jim Steele
MVP Sports Writer
Thursday night, Dresden and Martin Westview played in a football game that can best be described as a fireworks display.
The Chargers posted 498 total yards while Dresden compiled 413 total yards. This was a game both teams deserved to win, but in the end, Dresden made the play with 5:13 to put its team ahead for good, 40-34, at UT-Martin’s Hardy Graham Field Thursday night.
Charger receiver Donteze Joy, by virtue of his 332 receiving yards, posted the third-best single-game effort in state history.
The Lions marched down to the Charger 6, suffered a penalty, but recovered when Cameron Schlicht lobbed an 11-yard TD pass to Nick Turnbow with 5:13 to play. The kick failed, but that was of little consequence.
“Cameron had a good night and Jett ran off some big plays,” said Dresden coach Keith Hodge. “The offensive line had a good night.”
The Chargers weren’t done. They marched down to the Charger 22 as a result of a clutch 13-yard scamper by Miles Vincent that kept a drive alive. However, Dresden’s Tristan Jett, on a fourth-down play, picked off a pass and the Lions ran out the clock.
“We got the lead and we had to play bend-but-don’t-break defense. They had a lot of time on the clock,” Neal said. “We didn’t want them to have a big play. We put them in a fourth-down situation and Jett made a big play.”
This marked the second straight year Dresden has beaten Martin-Westview.
“We ran out of gas,” said Westview coach Jarrod Neal. “When we did, we started to play bad, especially defensively.”
Martin-Westview and Dresden probably used a few extra pages in their stat pads. Westview had 498 total yards. Vincent was 15-23 passing for 421 yards and five touchdowns. He was picked off one time. Donteze Joy had 332 receiving yards to lead the Chargers.
Meanwhile, Dresden racked up 413 total yards. Cameron Schlicht carried nine times for 84 yards while Jett was 20-147 with three touchdowns. The Lions had 231 total rushing yards.
Schlicht was 13-21 passing with three touchdowns for 182 yards.
Westview led for most of the game and took control early. The Chargers rang the bell with 6:50 to play in the first quarter after a 66-yard pass from Vincent to Joy. The kick failed, but the Chargers led 6-0. That’s how the first quarter ended.
The Lions countered in the second frame when Schilcht found Turnbow for a 20-yard pass with 9:30 to play in the half. The conversion kick was blocked, but the Lions had knotted the score.
The Chargers countered when Vincent located Cam Davis for a 50-yard TD strike. Later, Vincent found Cooper Spaulding for a 9-yard scoring completion.
“We got down, then we battled back and settled in,” said Hodge. “We dug ourselves a hole, but our kids battled back and made plays.”
The Lions fired back. Schlicht hit Reese Bell just before the half with a 28-yard TD aerial. The Lions trailed 20-12.
It didn’t take Dresden long to score again in the second half. Jett raced 54 yards for the score, narrowing the Chargers’ lead 20-18.
The Chargers responded when Vincent located Joy for a 36-yard TD aerial for a 27-18 advantage. The Lions quickly responded with two scores. Jett rambled in from the 2, then darted 16 yards with just over 10 minutes to play to give the Lions a lead, 34-27.
Vincent reached out to Joy one more time, this time from 69 yards out and the score was tied at 34. The Lions drove the field, resulting in the TD pass to Turnbow to win the game.
Neal saw some good things in his team.
“Cam Davis ran pretty well until he got hurt. I was pleased,” he said. “Vincent has gotten better. He’s fine tuning things. He soaks up everything and he invites coaching. He’s doing a good job.”
Westview and Dresden have stiff challenges ahead of them this Friday. The Chargers host 4A Obion Central at UT-Martin. Dresden visits defending Class A state champion McKenzie at Randy Thomas Field. Both games kick off at 7:30 p.m.