July 3, 2022

Doomed in final seconds; Law drop thriller in Texas


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Allen, TX-Late-In order for Dodge City to win a championship, they will have to figure out a way to finish in the clutch.

Through nine games, that aspect has been a major problem for Sean Ponder’s team. And on Saturday, it reared its ugly head again.

Robert Kent threw for 256 yards and six touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 32 seconds remaining as Texas beat Dodge City 72-64 at the Allen Events Center.

“Give Texas all the credit,” Ponder said. “They finished.”

The Law seem poised to end the Revolution’s longstanding, 11-game home-field winning streak after Derrick Bernard hit Maurice Young for a 25-yard touchdown pass that erased a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit and gave Dodge City a 64-60 advantage with 5:06 remaining in the game.

“We should have won the game,” Ponder said. “But we didn’t. Again, I have to do a better job getting these guys ready.”

Texas answered right back, converting a critical fourth-and-5 when Kent hit Bret Reece for a seven-yard gain and a first down to the Dodge City 13. Then on third-and-10, Cashmin Thomas was called for pass interference in the end zone, giving the Revolution the ball at the 2.

Then the head scratcher.

Dodge City burned two timeouts in the final 90 seconds despite holding a four-point lead. One of those came with 1:03 remaining, right before the one-minute warning.

“I knew we needed to have enough time when we got the ball back,” Ponder explained. “That’s why I called the timeouts.”

Eventually Kent put the Revolution in front when he lobbed a pass to a wide-open Reece in the end zone to make it 66-64 with 32 seconds to play. But Dylan Calder’s extra point wacked the left upright, leaving the door open for the law.

With no timeouts, Bernard hit Dominique Carson on a screen pass. As the reigning special team’s player of the year tried to wiggle free, he was tripped up at midfield.

That left things up to kicker Jared Wood, who had missed on four of his five previous attempts this season. Unfortunately this time, he never got a chance.

With five seconds to play, Caleb Young’s snap was high. Bernard bobbled the ball; somehow shoveled it to Wood, who then coughed it up. Revolution safety Cody Berry scooped up the loose change and rumbled 10 yards for the game-clinching touchdown.

“This is a tough environment to play in,” Ponder said. “It’s a tough atmosphere to play in, so give Texas all the credit.”

Berry’s fumble return for a touchdown polished off a wild finish where the Revolution scored 12 points in the game’s final 30 seconds to beat Dodge City for the first time in their franchise’s history.

“It’s not going to be easy, but we have to pick up the pieces,” Ponder said. “We still have an opportunity to accomplish our goals.”

The first two quarters saw the teams trade body blows. Kent hit Clinton Solomon for a 39-yard score on the third play from scrimmage before Bernard connected with Daniel McKinney on a five-yard score on fourth-and-goal to tie the game.

Texas surged back in front after Kent found Soloman wide open in the end zone on a 12-yard scoring toss before the Law answered with a five-play, 12-yard drive that was setup by McKinney’s 38-yard kickoff return and capped off with Bernard’s one-yard rushing touchdown.

The score didn’t stay tied for long as Joe Adams returned the ensuing kickoff 51 yards to the house, giving Texas (8-1) a 21-14 edge with four seconds left in the first quarter.

Dodge City tied the game again early in the second on the heels of Carson’s 34-yard catch-and-run touchdown. But Kent responded with his third scoring pass of the first half: a six-yard screen to Adams, who sprinted around right end for a touchdown. Calder missed the extra point, and the Revolution had a 27-21 lead with 10:26 to go in the half.

“We made a lot of mistakes; myself included,” Ponder said afterwards. “But it’s something that we can correct.”

Dodge City (6-3) took advantage of Calder’s missed extra point, and Bernard’s one-yard scoring plunge coupled with Wood’s extra point, gave the Law their first lead of the night 28-27.

But it never stuck, and Texas answered with 13 straight points: Darius Fudge’s one-yard rushing touchdown followed by Tavarres Williams sensational one-handed scoring grab in the right corner of the end zone that gave the Revolution a 40-27 lead with 12:52 to play in the third.

Eventually, Texas built the lead to 60-43, taking advantage of two failed onside kicks, and Bernard’s costly interception in the end zone where Berry snagged the rookie quarterback’s underthrown ball intended for McKinney.

Kent hit Williams on a five-yard td pass and Fudge added two rushing scores: 10 yards and two yards to pad the 17-point cushion.

“Our guys never quit,” Ponder said. “They came right back when we fell down 17.”

McKinney’s 18-yard touchdown where he came back to the ball, leaping over defensive back Lyndell Johnson to make a spectacular grab in the end zone, pulled the Law to within 11.

Then it was the defense’s turn, forcing two Kent turnovers in the fourth quarter: Thomas’s interception and a strip sack that Marquis George recovered.

Dodge City scored on both: Carson’s 21 yard dance to pay dirt and Young’s leaping 25-yard reception that put the Law in front for only the second time in the game.

Bernard finished 11-of-19 for 137 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. He added 12 carries for 61 and two scores. Carson rushed 16 times for 43 yards and two touchdowns, while adding three catches for 42 and a score.

Fudge carried the ball 11 times for 31 yards and three touchdowns for Texas, who clinched a playoff spot with the win. Soloman reeled in six balls for 113 yards and two scores.

Notes: The win puts Texas in the driver’s seat for the South-division crown…Two of the three meetings between the two teams have been decided by eight points or less…With three more turnovers on Saturday, the Law has now given it away 12 times in four road games; they’re minus-4 for the season

Next up: Dodge City vs. San Angelo-Saturday, May 21-6:30 p.m. pregame; 7:05 p.m. kick on 98.1 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kskz; mobile app: KSKZ and tuneinradio app: KSKZ