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Dallas Downs Rival Central 27-0 In Unlikely Fashion

DALLAS - The 27-0 home win for Dallas' football team Friday night over rival Central might quickly reveal a blowout, but this game itself was more of an anomaly mixed with 43 minutes of trench fighting.First, the anomaly. It started with the second play of the game. Central quarterback Ben Finnegan took a short drop and swung the ball short to the left side, and Dallas' Ryan Spencer jumped the route and intercepted the pass, taking it into the end zone easily. "Andy (Jackson), our defensive coordinator, really prepped us for this game - I just watched the quarterback's eyes," Spencer said.Spencer converted the point-after kick to put the Dragons up 7-0. But they, and Spencer, were just getting started.The next series, the Panthers came back and drove down the field, and with nine minutes left in the first quarter, Finnegan hit Kramer Harlow in the end zone. It was called back on a holding penalty and the very next play, Elijah Taber picked off a Finnegan pass and returned it for a touchdown, moving Dallas ahead 13-0. Two defensive touchdowns in consecutive series is rare, especially to open a game, but when David Rebischke stiff-armed Finnegan to the ground, returning a third interception into the end zone, even the Dallas crowd was a little stunned."It was the first time in all my years I had seen a football game start like that," Central coach Shane Hedrick said.Said Dallas coach Tracy Jackson: "It was unbelievable - I was so happy for the defense. They prepped really hard and that allowed them to play with confidence." With 7:48 left in the first quarter, Dallas had a 21-0 lead and its offense had yet to take the field."It didn't really change our strategy at that point, we were going to run the ball, it just made it that much more effective," Tracy Jackson said.The Dragons offense rushed the ball 40 times to their nine passes. The only other offensive highlight of the game for either team came when quarterback Josh Kibbey hit Spencer on a play-action fade route for a touchdown in the second quarter.Spencer ended the night with a career stat line, finishing with two interceptions, six total tackles, two receptions and a touchdown on both offense and defense.After the excitement of the first few minutes of action, the game took a different turn as Dallas continued to pound the ball on the ground with little success and the Central offense just couldn't get anything going. Along with the seven interceptions the Dragon defense had on the night, they added nine sacks - six of those coming from Jacob Bowman."The opening really pumped us up to another level, it was great for the seniors to get that victory," Bowman said.Linebacker Caleb Naughton gave credit to Andy Jackson and his defensive game plan. "We knew what was coming and trusted his system," Naughton said. "It was a great night, but we still have a lot of work to do to clean things up."As the Dragons' enjoyed their victory, the Panthers were looking to put this one behind them and move on with their season."We had some tough turnovers, but the defense battled hard. We will bounce back and get some good film session and be ready for the next game," Central's Toby Prescott said. The Central statistical leaders Friday night were: Wes Riddell with 98 yards on 19 rushes and Grant Lindley with three receptions for 58 yards. On the defensive side, Tell Cruickshank had 12 total tackles and a sack. Kody Kantola had six tackles and a fumble recovery. "We will be talking about overcoming adversity. I am very proud that our kids didn't give up," Hedrick said. "They could have very easily given up, but they played it out and we know even if the ball doesn't bounce our way we aren't going to give up."The Panthers will head to Sweet Home Friday night.

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