It would not be a high school football season in 2020 without having to move a game to Thursday night for factors outside of everyone’s control. This is what the Dora Bulldogs and many other high school teams across the state of Alabama had to do this week to try and escape the impending weather approaching the area. However, the short practice week would not be the only adversity the Bulldogs would have to overcome as the other Bulldogs from St. Clair County brought the fight to Horace Roberts Stadium.
The first drive for Dora would set the tone for the first half as the Bulldogs would eat away much of the first quarter clock on a drive that did not produce points. In fact, Ashville would only have one possession in the first quarter of play.
Dora would begin their second offensive drive late in the first quarter and would drive all the way down to the Ashville one yard line before the end of the quarter. The first play of the second quarter would produce the first points of the night as Jayden McDavid would find the end zone on a direct snap to give Dora the first lead of the night at 7-0.
Much like the first quarter, the Dora defense would be the story of the second quarter as well. Dora’s defense kept the Bulldogs offense with good field position to start each of their four first half drives. Late in the second quarter, Ashville would be forced to punt out of their own end zone for the second time. A low snap and a heavy Dora rush would force a short punt. This allowed Dora to start their next possession on the Ashville 21 yard line. A few plays later, Jamarcus Goodmon would find the end zone from 11 yards to give Dora a 14-0 advantage with 2:45 left until halftime.
The next drive would prove pivotal for the Bulldogs from Ashville as they would drive the ball down the field to set up a key scoring opportunity. Ashville would take advantage as Ashville quarterback, Dylan Harris would connect on a 39 yard pass to Hayden Phillips with 19 seconds remaining in the half to cut the deficit to 14-7 going into the locker room.
The late scoring drive for Ashville created a two for one situation where they would receive the ball first in the second half. Fortunately for Dora, Ashville could not take advantage of the situation as they turned the ball over on downs on their first drive of the second half. Dora’s offense would strike the scoreboard first in the second half as Garrett Hogeland would find Dee Wilkerson on a short pass that Wilkerson would take 66 yards to the house to put Dora up 21-7 with 7:41 left in the 3rd quarter.
Just when it looked like Dora had taken control of the game, Ashville would go on a hard nosed drive that would end with a 1 yard run from Luke Harris for a Ashville touchdown. The extra point would be no good and Dora’s advantage was down to 21-13 with 3:38 left in the third quarter. Dora would strike quick on their next drive as a 37 yard pass by Garrett Hogeland to Jamarcus Goodmon to the Ashville 9 yard line would set up the next Dora scoring opportunity. Dora would take advantage as Hogeland would find Dee Wilkerson on a short pass that was taken 9 yards for a touchdown and a 28-13 Dora lead.
Dora would continue to eat game clock in the fourth quarter until Ashville’s Hunter Pyle intercepted a Garrett Hogeland pass to keep Ashville in the game. Ashville would drive the ball to midfield. Ashville coach Shea Monroe then decided to go for it on fourth down. Ashville’s Dylan Harris would find Hayden Phillips for a 50 yard touchdown and prove the gamble to be worthwhile. Dora’s lead would be cut to 28-20 with 8:35 left in the game.
It was at this point the Dora offense would stall out and be forced to punt. This gave Ashville an opportunity to tie up the game in the later stages of the fourth quarter. Fortunately for Dora, Jayden McDavid would deliver the turning point in the game by intercepting an Ashville pass with 4:38 left in the game. Dora would run the ball down the field and Jamarcus Goodmon would deliver the finishing blow finding the end zone from 13 yards out with 27 seconds left to bring the game to its final score of 35-20 in favor of Dora.
Several individual performances stood out for Dora, Garrett Hogeland was 8/10 passing for 145 yards with 2 touchdowns. Jamarcus Goodmon once again eclipsed the 100 yard mark with 136 yards on 20 carries. Dee Wilkerson also brought in 4 passes for 82 yards and 2 touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, Jayden McDavid was the difference maker delivering 9 tackles, half a sack, and an interception.
As a team, Dora had 306 yards of total offense while holding Ashville to 246 yards. Dora also cleaned up the turnovers and penalties that have haunted them all year by only giving up one turnover and committing 4 penalties for 30 yards.
The win locks up one of the four playoff spots in region 6 for Dora. Dora’s record improves to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in class 4A, region 6 play. Dora hits the road next week as they travel to Good Hope to take on the #10 Good Hope Raiders. A win keeps Dora alive for a home playoff game in the first round and even a chance at a region title. A loss would relegate the Bulldogs to the 4th and final playoff spot likely landing them a first round playoff match up with region 7 champion, Madison Academy.