PREP FOOTBALL: Blackjacks knock off DragonsADRIAN — Joey Lee and Justin Lee each scored on a pair of short touchdown runs Friday night, sparking the Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks to a key 27-6 victory over the Adrian Dragons in a Homecoming showdown between two Little Sioux Conference high school football powers.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
ADRIAN — Joey Lee and Justin Lee each scored on a pair of short touchdown runs Friday night, sparking the Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks to a key 27-6 victory over the Adrian Dragons in a Homecoming showdown between two Little Sioux Conference high school football powers.
Dawson-Boyd, which went 14-0 and won the Class A state championship a season ago, came in to Friday night’s clash fresh off a tough loss to rival Minneota/Lincoln HI (18-14) last week. The Blackjacks, who are now 4-1, dropped from first to seventh in the state rankings after seeing their 17-game winning streak come to an end.
Adrian (4-1) moved from fourth up to third in the state polls, as the Dragons — who claimed a 21-7 victory over Minneota/Lincoln HI in Week 2 — impressively started the season 4-0 before Friday’s setback.
“Dawson-Boyd is obviously a very good football team,” Adrian head coach Randy Strand said after the game. “This wasn’t our best effort tonight, but I think that Dawson-Boyd certainly had something to do with that. We battled pretty well for the most part and just didn’t have enough in the tank to hang with them.”
The Dragons were playing without senior standout Jake Tiede, who injured his left shoulder in last week’s 28-8 victory over Murray County Central. Tiede normally plays fullback and is one of Adrian’s top playmakers defensively, as well.
“Adrian is a solid team and they played well despite not having one of their best players available tonight,” Dawson-Boyd head coach Cory Larson said. “Overall, we are very happy with how we played and how we came back with more intensity and focus after last week’s loss. Our effort level was much better, as we played harder and were able to find a way to win on the road against a tough team.”
Dawson-Boyd gained 286 yards of total offense (210 rushing, 76 passing) and moved the chains for 14 first downs. Justin Lee rushed for 92 yards on 20 carries, while Joey Lee completed 6-of-10 passes for 76 yards — with Nathaniel Huot reeling in five aerials for 73 yards.
Adrian moved the ball for 146 total yards (130 rushing, 16 passing) and picked up seven first downs. Jordan Dingmann led the Dragons with 14 carries for 102 yards on the ground.
Blackjacks strike first, take 14-0 lead
Dawson-Boyd stopped Adrian on fourth-and-inches from the 50-yard line on the game’s initial possession, taking over on downs. The Blackjacks were unable to do anything, though, and punted the ball away after three plays.
Among the highlights for the Dragons on those first two series included a pair of 11-yard bursts by Dingmann and a tackle for a loss by Jesse Slater, who finished with a team-high 12 stops.
Adrian started its second drive at its own 14-yard line, and after Logan Rogers threw a four-yard completion to Adam Garms to make it third-and-five, Dawson-Boyd’s Michael Lee intercepted a pass along the sideline to set up the Blackjacks’ first touchdown of the game.
Starting at Adrian’s 26-yard line, Dawson-Boyd needed seven plays to reach the end zone. A 14-yard surge by Justin Lee and a five-yard dash by Huot preceded two straight one-yard sneaks by Joey Lee — who scored from the one-yard line on the second plunge up the middle — to cap the drive.
Easton Popma booted the extra point through the uprights, lifting the Blackjacks to an early 7-0 lead at the 3:19 mark of the first quarter.
A quarterback sack by Brandon Schmitt (15 tackles, three sacks) on the ensuing Dragons’ possession helped force a quick three-and-out, but Adrian got the ball right back on an interception by Jordan Preuss with 34 seconds left in the period.
However, Adrian was again unable to move the ball and punted it away. Jake Diekmann’s kick pinned Dawson-Boyd back at its own 32-yard line.
Garth Ochsendorf started the Blackjacks’ drive with a three-yard run before Joey Lee hooked up with Huot on a big play through the air — 55 yards down the seam — to set up a first-and-goal from the Dragons’ 10.
Justin Lee’s nine-yard scamper came next, and Joey Lee punched it in with another one-yard touchdown on a sneak up the middle. Popma tacked on the PAT to extend Dawson-Boyd’s lead to 14-0 with 8:51 remaining in the second quarter.
Dragons counter with 10-play, 63-yard scoring drive to make it 14-6
Adrian responded with its best drive of the night, using 10 plays to cover 63 yards and trim the gap to 14-6. Cody Polzine started the march with a five-yard run, while runs by Dingmann (two yards) and Diekmann (three yards) got the Dragons a first down.
Rogers then gained five yards on a keeper before Polzine helped open up a big hole for Dingmann, who scampered 25 yards for another first down at the Blackjacks’ 23-yard line.
The Dragons continued to pound the ball on the ground, and aided by a Dawson-Boyd offsides penalty on fourth-and-three from the 16, scored with 4:16 remaining in the first half.
Dingmann went in motion prior to the snap, carried the ball around the left edge and accelerated into the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown dash. The PAT kick was blocked, as Adrian was within eight points at 14-6.
“We felt like we were right back in the game at that point, as we put together a nice drive to get on the board,” Strand said. “But, they answered right away with a touchdown to go back up by two scores. We just had a few too many mental breakdowns, and you can’t have those against a good team like this.”
Indeed the Blackjacks did answer — driving 65 yards on nine plays to go up 21-6 right before halftime. Huot had receptions of nine and six yards, while Justin Lee ripped off runs of 23 and 16 yards to get Dawson-Boyd on the move.
Justin Lee capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown run on a sweep to the right, and Popma’s extra-point kick with 31 seconds to go gave the Blackjacks a 21-6 advantage at the break.
No score in the second half until late
Both teams’ defenses seemed to control the action throughout most of the second half, as Adrian got a big stop on Dawson-Boyd’s opening possession of the third quarter.
The Blackjacks effectively drove to the Dragons’ 15-yard line on a steady mix of runs by Justin Lee, Ochsendorf and Huot, but a fumble on a snap exchange was recovered by Adrian’s Ben Henning to derail that scoring chance.
Aaron Tufto’s tackle for a loss prevented the Dragons from gaining a first down on the ensuing possession, while Slater made another big play in the Blackjacks’ backfield to force a turnover on downs for Dawson-Boyd on the follow-up series.
Each team lost a fumble on the next two drives, as the defenses continued to keep the opposing offenses from moving the ball consistently. Adrian’s Matt Slater recovered a loose ball in that swap of turnovers.
The Dragons did start to sustain some offense heading into the fourth quarter, as Dingmann and Diekmann both picked up positive yardage on the ground.
A 12-yard run by Dingmann and a 12-yard reception by Nate Loosbrock helped Adrian reach Dawson-Boyd’s 40-yard line, but the Dragons eventually stalled out with less than seven minutes to play.
Dawson-Boyd then essentially sealed the game with a time-consuming drive that spanned 60 yards over 12 plays. The Blackjacks took over with 6:42 on the clock and had the ball until they scored the game’s final points with 37 seconds remaining.
Justin Lee did the bulk of the work on that drive — including finding open space for a 20-yard burst — and scored his second touchdown on a one-yard dive play. The PAT kick was no good, completing the scoring at 27-6.
“We had a few turnovers that I didn’t necessarily like in the third quarter, but we did control the football better in the fourth quarter,” Larson said. “We like to pride ourselves on having a physical running game, and I think that we were able to do some good things on the ground against a pretty salty defense.”
Both teams play on the road next week. Adrian is at Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, and Dawson-Boyd makes the long drive to play Braham in a non-conference game.
D-B 7 14 0 6 — 27
Adrian 0 6 0 0 — 6