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Experienced No. 3 KD-B runs past young Dawgs

If you looked closely at the rosters for Friday night’s Bearden-Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett game, you might see it containing nothing but numbers and names.

A closer look, however, reveals an eternal sports truth.

The stability of experience more often than not outstrips the exuberance of youth. A key factor was the presence of 28 seniors on the D-B roster and 38 sophomores on the Bearden roster.

Stung by the always exciting Devrin Young’s 93-yard opening kickoff for a score, D-B found itself in a 7-0 hole 20 seconds into the game.

But D-B didn’t make it to a No. 3 AP raking statewide by not playing the full 48 minutes, and Bearden (2-1, 0-1) found that out to its detriment, losing a 31-14 Region 1-5A decision to the tradition-laden Indians (3-0, 1-0).

“They’re a very good football team,” said head coach Brad Taylor. “They deserve a lot of credit. They’re a lot like we were last year, and they’re going to do big things this year.”

Statistics are sometimes misleading, but not this night. The Bulldogs were on the short end of a more than 13-minute bulge in time of possession (30:36 to 17:24), committed five turnovers, and were outgained 370 yards to 204. That’s not a path to success.

It was a rough night for quarterback Ryan Potter, who saw D-B defenders coming at him from all angles, chasing him from the pocket more than once.

“They did a lot of schemes in the secondary and got a good push on the line,” he said. “You learn to keep fighting and never give up. We’ll have to come out ready to play next week against Farragut.”

D-B responded to Young’s opening kickoff return for a score, with a 5-minute drive to a field goal, followed by a 94-yard drive in eight plays in 3:57 for a touchdown, helped along immeasurably by a roughing the kicker penalty.

Senior Ashion Adams got the first of two TD receptions on a 62-yard catch-and-run, where the 6-5, 208-pound senior grabbed a toss over the middle and outran everybody else to the end zone. He later caught an 11-yard TD pass to widen the margin to 18-7.

After a fake punt failed, D-B got another touchdown before the half, as senior quarterback Jamie Crawford, a cool customer under center, found sophomore wideout Derrick Steele in the right flat, and he turned the simple-looking toss into a 28-yard TD run.

Bearden caught a big break in the third quarter when Young blasted D-B fullback Jordan Lawson on a screen pass, and the Bulldogs set up shop at the 45 going in.

Young ran for four yards and four more, then blasted through center and found the wide-open spaces for a 37-yard TD run that closed the gap to 25-14, giving the Bulldogs hope.

Not for long. D-B responded with a 68-yard drive that took 4:15 and eight plays to find the end zone. Steele got the TD reception from 16 yards to close the scoring.

Junior defensive end Dillon Wilker fought the good fight up front, despite being worked on by an experienced D-B offensive line and facing more than one blocker at a time.

“I worked on getting through there as fast as I could and still making the tackle,” he said.

Taylor praised his team’s effort, noting that D-B would magnify every miscue.

“When you’re playing a good team like that, you’re going to have to get some bounces,” he said. “Our guys have nothing to be ashamed of. These kids are going to be all right.”

Bearden goes to Farragut this Friday, Sept. 12, in its biggest out-of-region “rivalry game.” Opening kickoff at FHS’s Bill Clabo Field/Farragut Stadium is 7:30 p.m.


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