Final Highlights: Dodge City vs. Lincoln
Dodge City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-Saturday night proved there are more important things in life than football. Law wide receiver Maurice Young can definitely attest to that.
When the veteran wide out was a kid, he watched his mother battle something a lot tougher than a blitzing defense or a zone coverage: The woman that raised him survived a disease that many have succumb to-breast cancer.
“This night is really special for me,” Young said. “My mom is my biggest inspiration.”
And although he only caught three balls for 29 yards, Young did reach the end zone in Dodge City’s 58-41 victory over Lincoln at United Wireless Arena.
“We’ve been through a lot my mom and me,” Young said. “Ups and downs, but she’s always been there for me.”
So were the rest of his teammates, decked out in all pink to raise awareness for one of the biggest killers in this country. And it was only fitting that the game’s first touchdown landed in Young’s hands.
On third-and-four on their opening drive, quarterback Josh Floyd, rolled to his right and threw a dart to Young in the back-right corner of the end zone. The extra point was good and Dodge City (4-3) led 7-0.
“This was a special night,” said linebacker Walner Leandre, who fought off a leg injury to register five tackles. “Anytime this disease hits close to home, it puts things in perspective.”
Leandre was pumped up well before kickoff. And on the Haymakers first series, he let loose. When Lincoln’s drive stalled, Head Coach Corey Ross summoned kicker Ben Hanaphy for a 44-yard field goal. But Leandre was ready and blocked the line-drive kick-then sprinted for the end zone and recovered the loose change for a touchdown.
“When I was lined up, I just saw something that I could take advantage of,” Leandre said. I knew I could beat him inside. And there was no way anyone else was recovering that football but me.”
He beat him like a drum and put Dodge City up 14-0 with just over nine minutes to play in the first quarter.
On the Haymakers second possession, Chuck Wright and the offense finally got on track-getting a huge 16-yard completion to Nick Rhodes on second down and eight that set Lincoln (2-5) up at the Law seven-yard line. Three plays later, Wayne Jacobs took a jet sweep and dashed into the end zone-cutting the Law lead in half.
Following an Alex Fambrough field goal that extended the lead to 17-7, Wright marched his troops on a three play, 35-yard drive-capped off with a beautiful touchdown pass down the middle to Rhodes, who finished the night with 10 catches, 149 and three scores. The celebration though was short lived.
On the ensuing kickoff, Dominique Carson, who initially bobbled the ball at the goal line, picked it up, found a crease and raced 50 yards to the house. Fambrough tacked on the PAT and the Law led 24-14.
After the teams traded field goals, Lincoln was on the verge of making it a three-point game again. But Wright’s fourth-down heave from Dodge City’s 14-yard line was intercepted at the goal line by Paul Robinson who returned it out to the 20. A penalty pushed the ball into Haymakers territory, and on the very next play Carson raced 15-yards untouched to the end zone putting Dodge City up 34-17.
Undeterred, it only took the Lincoln offense two plays to respond. On first-and-10 from their own 24, Wright lobbed a pass down the sideline and watched Rhodes make a leaping catch and walk in for six. Hanaphy’s extra point was no good and the Law lead was 11.
Dodge City’s response: A six-play, 45 yard drive in less than 50 seconds. And when DD Hollyfield crossed the goal line from two yards out, it appeared Dodge City would take an 18-point lead into the locker room. Not the case on this night.
With just 18 seconds remaining in the second quarter and two timeouts, Steven Rush returned Fambrough’s squib kick near midfield. On the very next play Wright went for broke and found Rhodes for a 24-yard touchdown bringing a wild first half to a dramatic conclusion with Dodge City in front 41-30.
In the second half, it was the defenses trading blows. After 71 combined first-half points, the two squads combined for six points in the third. But on the first play of the final stanza, Floyd hooked up with Kendrick Ings for a 27-yard score-stretching the lead to 18.
Wright didn’t blink, directing the Haymakers on an eight-play 24-yard drive that included two-big, third-down conversions-the second of those was a Travis Ribbing six-yard run that put the ball on the Law one-yard line. Two plays later, the journeyman signal caller, who led the franchise to back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010 when the team was in Iowa, threw his third touchdown pass of the night: A fade to Rhodes in the right corner of the end zone. The tandem would hook up once more on the two point conversion slicing the Dodge City advantage to 51-41 with 8:05 remaining.
But unlike last week, Sean Ponder’s team had no thoughts of blowing a second-half lead, and Floyd’s 4-yard touchdown pass to newly acquired receiver David Lewis on the ensuing drive, put an exclamation point on a special win on a night where helmets, cleats and pigskin took a back seat to something much bigger than an athletic competition.
“It’s huge for us to get back on track,” Ponder said. “Very very important for this franchise.”
Floyd threw for 154 yards on 12-of-16 passing and three touchdowns. His counterpart was equally as impressive-throwing for 238 yards and four touchdowns.
Next up: Dodge City at Kansas Koyotes-Saturday, April 26-6:30 p.m. countdown to kickoff; 7:05 p.m kick on 98.1 FM, z98mobile.com and the all-new Z-98 mobile app.
Final Stats: final stats pack dc law vs. lincoln