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Trojans rally, oust ’Dawgs in opening round

It’s a funny thing about momentum. Just as quickly as you think you have it, it gets away from you and never comes back, much like a jilted lover.

That was the storyline on a cold and wet fall night on Bill Young Field, as Soddy-Daisy rallied from a 21-10 halftime deficit to end the Bulldogs’ 2008 season at 8-3, with a 30-21 win in the first round of the TSSAA state playoffs. It was Bearden’s game the first half and Soddy-Daisy’s in the second.

The Bulldogs had feasted on turnovers in previous weeks, but momentum-changing plays turned on them when they could least afford it.

The Bulldogs used three first-half touchdowns by Devrin Young, a prime candidate for somebody’s “Sophomore of the Year” honors. He had 115 yards before intermission, 170 in total. It was enough for the Bulldogs to go in ahead by 11, having the ball coming out in the second half.

Things changed quickly as Soddy-Daisy got a huge break in the kicking game, falling on the ball at the Bearden 23 and scoring on a 34-yard TD pass the first play after being called for holding. That seemed to change the whole complexion of the game, as the Trojans rolled up 20 unanswered points. Davis Tull did file a dissenting opinion, reflective of the team’s spirit.

“We lost a little momentum, but I never thought we would lose,” Tull, a warrior all season, said. “It just didn’t work out. It was one of the most physical games we played.”

It all happened so quickly.

“The turnover on the opening kickoff of the second half was huge,” head coach Brad Taylor said. “That changed the momentum, and we never could get it going back our way. We made too many mistakes, and they made plays.”

The Trojans stopped the Bulldogs in the ensuing series, despite a 34-yard run by Young. A sack and an incompletion followed, with a fake punt being stuffed at the Trojan 40. Soddy-Daisy then marched to another score, converting two third downs with 33- and 22-yard completions and scoring on fourth down from the 11.

The Trojans, who had four turnovers in the first half, two fumbles and two Tanner Fine interceptions, controlled things after the half on their way to a 28-20 bulge in time of possession and 360 yards total offense.

The Bulldogs had ridden the first half turnovers to a late first quarter score by Young, after he had broken a 54-yarder down the right sideline. The touchdown came from the 2 and overcame a 3-0 Trojan lead. Bearden recovered a Soddy-Daisy muffed kickoff at the Trojan 22 and moved to another score in three plays. Ryan Potter headed left, then back right, and tossed a short pass to Young, who found the end zone easily.

“We didn’t take care of the ball, and they took advantage of our mistakes,” Potter, playing his final game as a Bulldog, said of the Trojans’ come-from-behind effort.

After Soddy-Daisy had closed to 14-10, the first of Fine’s two interceptions led to a third score, in three plays from the Trojan 17.

Young ran for 3 and 8 and scored from the 6. Fine grabbed another interception, but nothing came of it.

The loss ended a season in which the youthful Bulldogs overcame the loss of much of 2007’s 12-2 squad, yet were able to finish second in Region 1-5A.

“They have a lot to be proud of,” Taylor said. “I think we could have done better in the playoffs. We just missed our opportunities.”


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