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Dallas' Caleb Naughton returns an interception against South Albany
September 24, 2013
DALLAS - Big "D" is the moniker for the much larger city of Dallas, but a big defense is what the Dragons used Friday night to shut down South Albany 42-7.
The Rebels came out with their no huddle, spread offense looking to keep the Dallas defense off balance, but Dallas defensive coordinator Andy Jackson had the Dragons ready and capitalized early when senior linebacker Caleb Naughton dropped into coverage and grabbed an interception.
"We have faced spread offenses a lot, it is probably one of the offenses we are most comfortable in dealing with," Dallas coach Tracy Jackson said. "Our secondary has played great all season and when you have guys like Jacob Bowman and Michael Taber up front pressuring the quarterback, it gives us a great advantage."
"It was the coaches again, they keep putting us in position to make great plays and we know every week we can go out there and be confident in what we are doing," Naughton added.
Taber, Naughton and Bowman combined for 15 total tackles, one sack, three pass breakups and an interception, and junior Spencer McCarron led the team with 10 total tackles.
The Dragons took advantage of the short field when senior running back Tim Smothers found the end zone for the first score of the game.
Jacob Bowman finds some running room against South Albany
"Offensively my game starts out with the offensive line," Smothers said. "They were moving guys around all night and I couldn't do anything without those guys."
Smothers and senior running back David Rebischke combined for 210 yards on 23 carries Friday night. The Dallas offense totaled a remarkable 430 yards on the ground on 57 rushing attempts.
The rain slicked night made for a troublesome outing for the pass-heavy Rebels offense. They ended the game with just 177 yards of total offense, including only 38 on the ground.
On their second possession, Dragons defensive lineman Bowman, who has been a terror to opposing offenses all season, stripped the ball and it was returned deep into Rebels territory by Chase Mauk.
That set up a quick 21-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Josh Kibbey to Smothers, giving the Dragons a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
Capitalizing on early turnovers has been the mode of operation for the Dragons at home this season.
A quick three-and-out led to the Dallas offense driving down the field with Naughton finishing off the drive, making it 21-0 in the first quarter, a familiar sight for the home fans in Dallas.
A 28-yard touchdown run by Mauk with 8:50 left in the second quarter gave Dallas a commanding 28-0 lead, but the team and coach Tracy Jackson have been preaching finishing games all season, and they weren't about to be done there.
"At halftime the coaches really tried to keep us in the game mentally," Naughton said. "We didn't want to let up - we wanted to finish as strongly as we started."
The Dragons defense set up the early touchdowns, but Jackson was pleased to see the offense grind down the game and finish with touchdowns.
A Kibbey keeper put the Dragons up 35-0 late in the third quarter before the Rebels finally got on the board early in the fourth.
With the game in hand, Jackson looked to get some of his younger players some experience, mainly backup quarterback Grant Tallon, who took his first carry more than 60 yards setting up his own 4-yard touchdown run behind the road-grading offensive line.
"We work a lot on double teams at the point of attack," senior offensive lineman Alex Garret said. "The coaches do a good job of preparing us for every matchup and we were able to make some space for our running backs tonight."
The story of the night was the finish, however, as Jackson was pleased at not only how the Dragons responded to their defeat last week in Silverton, but also how they kept the pressure on South Albany even after the big first quarter lead.
"The last 18 minutes last week left a sour taste for the guys and they wanted to come out hard," Jackson said. "We have been frustrated offensively, but had some really good days of practice this week and it showed on the field.
"We need to have another good week of practice and keep this momentum - we have a great vibe going into Crescent Valley," he added. "They hurt us last year with a few things we have been working on since preseason to stop, so it should be a good test of where we are at in the conference."