Dixon too much for Eagles

Published 12:33 am Saturday, September 29, 2012

Coming into Friday night’s game against Flomaton, Pleasant Home had one main objective: stop quarterback Ryheem Dixon.

But the UAB commit and the Hurricanes proved to be too much for the Eagles, and they fell 35-26.

Pleasant Home head coach Cody McCain agreed that Dixon was the difference-maker. “We knew coming in that he would be the best player we’ll see all year,” McCain said. “He lived up to that.”

John Newby put the Eagles on the board first with a touchdown run from four yards out.

Flomaton immediately answered with a scoring drive of their own.

Both teams failed to convert PAT’s and with 8:10 remaining in the first quarter, the score was tied 6-6.

Late in the second quarter, Flomaton received an Eagle punt and wasted no time in scoring, albeit by a stroke of luck.

Dixon took the shotgun snap and hurled a deep bomb to the end zone that was broken up by an Eagles defender, only to fall into the hands of a trailing Hurricanes receiver for the touchdown. The PAT was again unsuccessful and Flomaton led 12-6 with 4:33 left in the half.

The game was laiden with personal foul penalties by both teams, and on Pleasant Home’s last drive of the half, a Flomaton defender was ejected from the game for fighting.

Later in the drive and with the clock winding down, sophomore Jon Cole Chesser not only picked up a crucial fourth and one, but fought his way into the end zone from 11 yards out to knot the score at 12-12 with 17 seconds left in the half.

But Dixon wasn’t done.

He completed a 30-yard strike over the middle to set up one last play from the Eagles’ 25-yard line.

Dixon took the snap and scrambled before finally being brought down as time expired.

End of the half? Not so fast.

A personal foul against the Eagles gave Flomaton a chance for one last play and they took advantage of it by making a field goal to bring the halftime score to 15-12, Hurricanes.

Flomaton received the ball at the half and Dixon immediately showed why he was a Division 1 prospect by shedding tackles and bouncing off defenders for a 53-yard gain all the way down to the Pleasant Home 14.

Two plays later, running back Jarrod Sanders capped the three play drive with a 4-yard score of his own.

The PAT was good this time and Flomaton stretched their lead to 22-12 with 10:11 left in the third period.

Flomaton’s next drive was equally successful, as Dixon took a third and 20 scramble in for a 25-yard score.

The PAT was good and the Hurricanes led 29-12 with 5:48 left in the third.

Pleasant Home then fumbled on the ensuing possession.

But just as things were beginning to look bleak for the Eagles, they were given a gift.

Dixon completed another first down pass, just to be fumbled away and picked up by Chesser, who took it 71 yards for the defensive touchdown.

Pleasant Home converted the 2-point try and with 23 seconds left in the third quarter, the Eagles trailed 29-20.

The Eagles then put together an impressive 14 play drive, capped by senior Hunter Greathouse’s 2-yard touchdown run.

With another failed 2-point conversion, the scoreboard read 29-26 in favor of the Hurricanes with 4:20 left in the game.

Dixon added another late score to close out the game, 35-26.

Pleasant Home running backs Carl Whitehurst and Cameron Hill were noticeably absent in the second half, due to a knee injury and a broken arm they received, respectively, on the Eagles’ first possession of the game.

Consequently, McCain was frustrated by more than just the final score.

“Our two best players got hurt on the first drive of the game,” he said. “It’s frustrating in a non-region game to lose on the scoreboard and to have all of these injuries.”

Pleasant Home travels next week to Georgiana to take on the Panthers in region action.