Friday night's game continued a long tradition of exciting football between these schools as both teams used the entire field to battle back and forth in a slugfest that seemed to last forever. Dyersburg survived the game that saw senior running back Oshawn Smith run for nearly 180 yards and six touchdowns as the Trojans defeated the Tomcats 48-27.
Trojan kicker Evan Walden drove the opening kickoff into the end zone, giving Haywood County the ball on the 20-yard line. Tomcat sophomore quarterback Bryce Young threw to Quintavious Caldwell for 40 yards and a first down on the first play of the game. The Tomcats followed with a double reverse for 18 yards before Terrion Cooper fumbled. An alert Trojan defender pounced on the pigskin giving Dyersburg the ball on their own 33-yard line. Trojan quarterback Will Bradshaw led the Trojans to two first downs before Haywood County's defense stiffened, forcing Dyersburg to punt from the Trojan 49. Walden's towering punt hit on the 5-yard line where it rolled into the end zone, giving the Tomcats the ball on their own 20 once more.
Haywood County's Justin Brown ran consecutive plays up the middle before breaking free for the first touchdown of the evening early in the first period. The extra point was missed leaving the Tomcats with a 6-0 lead.
Determined to answer, Carlos Clark took the short kickoff back to the Trojan 46. From there, Bradshaw hit him with a 17-yard pass into Tomcat territory. Smith and Bradshaw followed a strong offensive line left, right and up the middle on consecutive runs down to the 10-yard line. Smith took it in from there, scoring his first touchdown of the night. The first quarter ended with Dyersburg on top 7-6.
Haywood used a no-huddle offense and answered with a score of its own early in the second period, moving ahead 12-7 after the extra-point try failed. Dyersburg took advantage of a short kickoff and strong running by Bradshaw and Smith to regain the lead 14-12. At this point, the lack of both a game clock and a play clock in the stadium became an issue.
On Friday neither Dyersburg nor Haywood County knew how much time was left on the game clock nor the play clock because the cable that is used by the referee to control the devices from the sidelines was broken. It appears that this is the third week for a game to be played in Brownsville without either clock operating properly. The officiating crew kept time on the field.
Dyersburg took advantage of a second Tomcat fumble on the Trojan 33 in the second quarter. They dismantled the Tomcat defensive line opening a huge hole for Brandon Sharp who scored on a 13-yard TD run up the middle. The two-point conversion failed and the Trojans led 20-12 late in the half.
Haywood County would not go away as they ran a screen pass to the right flat before halftime that resulted in a Tomcat touchdown. The Trojan lead at the half had been trimmed to eight, 27-19.
A determined Tomcat team surged to tie the score in the third quarter with a remarkable touchdown catch and the two-point conversion knotted the score at 27-27.
From that point, Dyersburg dominated both sides of the ball. The Trojan defense, led by juniors Shavon Henderson and Clint Perkins delivered just what head coach Bart Stowe needed for the rest of the game. Hard hits and pesky, swarming defense shut the Tomcats down while Smith scored twice more to make the final the margin of victory, 48-27.
"It was a strange game," said Stowe following the game. "We've got some bumps and bruises, but we are getting better."
Dyersburg returns home on Friday to play Trenton Peabody. It will be homecoming for the Trojans and the clocks will be operating at J.C. Sawyers stadium.