Dyer County hosted the Bartlett Panthers on Friday evening and prevailed by the final score of 32-20. The Choctaws ran their record to 3-3 while the Panthers dropped their sixth consecutive game to go 0-6 on the season.
The Panthers' Tony Jackson ran the opening kickoff down to the Choctaw 19-yard line. From there, the Panthers' Josh Hall scored on the third play from scrimmage. The point after sailed left, leaving the score 6-0 with 11:17 remaining in the first quarter.
Dyer County's opening drive of the game started on their own 24-yard line. The Choctaws moved quickly up field with consecutive passes to Ky Wilson followed by a run to the 45-yard line by Bryce Heathcott. Junior quarterback Tucker Cozort fired a bullet over the middle to Austin Richardson who made the catch but fumbled when a Panther defender made a tremendous hit. Bartlett recovered the ball on their own 45-yard line.
The Panthers moved the ball down to the Choctaw 15 where the drive stalled. A field goal attempt missed and the score remained 6-0, Bartlett.
A series of runs and passes moved the ball down to the Panther 8-yard line as the first quarter ended. On the first play of the second quarter, Cozort tossed a pass to Ky Wilson for the Choctaws' first touchdown. Colin Dietrich's extra point split the uprights and the Choctaws led 7-6.
The teams exchanged possessions for most of the second quarter. Bartlett went three and out. Dyer County moved the ball down to the Panther 22 where Bryce Heathcott was stopped short on a fourth and two. Again, Bartlett went three and out. Dyer County was called for a procedure penalty on a fake punt that would have given the Choctaws a first down with 3:05 left in the first half. Bartlett scored on a 6-yard pass play from Conner Anderson to Johnny Shepard with just 8.3 seconds left in the half. The point after was no good and Bartlett led 12-7 heading into the locker room.
Except for a kickoff return for a touchdown by the Panthers in the second half, Dyer County controlled the rest of the game. The Choctaws recovered a fumble, which led to a touchdown. Two high snaps by the Panther center sailed into the end zone on punts, which led to two safeties for the home team. Cozort hit Matthew Pease for a 22-yard touchdown and Ky Wilson set a school record for career touchdowns as Bartlett began to experience cramps and mental errors.
After the game, Choctaw head coach, Barry Kendall was happy with the win. "We were able to convert third downs tonight which I thought was a big factor in the game," said Kendall. "The offense is coming along a little bit more. The kids executed the game plan and I thought that was the difference in us being able to hang in and wear them down with a big enough lead so we could breathe a little bit."
Dyer County travels to play the undefeated Tigers from Hardin County next Friday beginning at 7 p.m.