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Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

Bearcats, Bluejays put on offensive display Friday

Sunday, October 5, 2008

(Photo)
David Jenkins, Staff Charleston's Garrison Eastman tackles Dexter's Ryan Windham in the first half Friday night at Charles Bland Stadium in Dexter.
DEXTER -- An offensive powder keg exploded all over Charles Bland Stadium on Friday night. The Dexter Bearcats and the Charleston Bluejays compiled almost 1,000 yards of total offense between them with the Bearcats coming out on top of the high scoring affair in a close 49-42 final.

Dexter had 614 yards of total offense while Charleston put up 371 yards of their own making it 985 yards of total offense between the two.

The game went down to the wire after it seemed like that the last team that would have control of the ball would have the better chance of winning. Especially after the Bluejays tied the game at 34 with 3:01 left in the third quarter after an 85-yard touchdown run from Antonio Riggins.

The Bearcats untied the game in their next possession late in the third with a 6-yard run from McBride to make it a 41-34 Dexter lead.

After the Dexter score the Bluejays received the ensuing kickoff at the 31-yard line, but a penalty on Charleston made the Bluejays start the drive at their own 15-yard line. The Bluejays faced a fourth down twice during the drive but converted on both.

"Those were big decisions," Charleston coach Dan Kesselring said about the conversions. "Most people think that was great coaching but all we did was went out and ask the kids 'what do you want to do.' It's their ball team too and they said 'coach we have nothing to lose let's just go for it.' So, we went for it and they stepped up and made those conversions."

The first decision came on a fourth-and-three on the Bluejays 22-yard line. Riggins ran for four yards for the successful conversions. The second conversion Charleston was faced with a fourth-and-eleven situation but a Dexter encroachment penalty added five more yards and the Bluejays decided to go for it because of the extra added yardage. Charleston converted and then later scored on a 40-yard pass from Chase McClendon to Deonte Jones.

Charleston also chose to go for a 2-point conversion and was successful with that as well when Jerquawn Sherrell ran into the end zone to give his Bluejays a 42-41 lead in the fourth quarter with 9:05 left in the game.

Dexter now had the ball and started their drive at their own 15-yard line.

After 13 running plays mostly alternated between McBride and Hessling, the Bearcats found the end zone when quarterback Ben Mills capped off the drive with a one yard run for the touchdown. Dexter also went for the 2-pt conversion to try and make it a 7-point game and got it on a McBride run.

Charleston started the next drive on their own 40-yard line. After an incomplete pass and a one yard run by Riggins, McClendon dropped back and fired a pass to Jones but it wound up in the hands of Dexter's Caleb Shafer for the interception which sealed the game for the Bearcats.

"I told our defense 'it doesn't really matter what we've done all night, what matters is what we do right now.'" Pixley said before that drive. "They went out there and they didn't give up and came up with a great stop with a great interception by Caleb Shafer."

Riggins finished with a whopping 228 rushing yards on only 12 attempts and four touchdowns for the Bluejays. He also had one of his runs go for an 85 yard touchdown.

"We've been waiting for Antonio to explode all year," Kesselring said. "Finally he decided to turn some speed on tonight. You have to give credit to the backfield and the line for locking on and giving him a chance to get to the outside and explode the way he did."

The Bluejays ended up with 281 total rushing yards.

Dexter had two big earners on the ground in Seth McBride and Nick Hessling.

McBride ended up with 196 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns and Hessling had 188 yards on 34 touches.

The Bearcats finished the game with a whopping 452 total yards of rushing yards.

"We blocked well for it," Pixley said about the Bearcats running game. "Whenever you block well your going to run well. It doesn't really matter who you have back there but both of those backs ran very, very good. Nick (Hessling) got going and it was good to see him gain some confidence as the game went on. Seth McBride, I felt like he ran his most physical game. He put some pops on some people out there, which is what we do. But, they couldn't do that without their offensive line. I felt like they blocked well tonight."

The Bearcats alone had a total of 37 first downs from their offense including seven third down conversions and one fourth down conversion.

"The whole offense looked good," Pixley said. "We threw the ball in the first half and that worked extremely well and we spread the ball around."

Both teams will try and provide that same offensive power next Friday when Charleston (1-5) will host Fredericktown and Dexter (2-3) will travel to Caruthersville.