Behind a solid second-half defensive performance, as well as another stellar performance running the football by Oshawn Smith, the Trojans improved to 4-1 overall with a convincing 48-27 victory.
Smith, after scoring six touchdowns a week ago against Haywood County, duplicated the feat on Friday against the Tide. The fleet-footed senior, thanks to a big push up front by a hard-working offensive line, was simply unstoppable against Peabody. Smith rushed 28 times for 227 yards in a game that was knotted at 20-20 at the half.
While Smith's efforts running the ball were one of the highlights of the contest, the largest of all was the effort put forth in the second half by Paul Decker's defensive unit.
In the first half, Tide quarterback Braxton Bauguse torched the Trojan defense. The lanky Peabody signal caller was on target for the majority of the first two quarters, completing 11-of-17 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns. In the second half, after major adjustments at halftime, Bauguse was 2-for-6 for 19 yards.
"In the first half we were up in their face and pressing and they got open. In the second half we backed off a little bit and changed some of our coverages, went to more of a zone and less man and that made a huge difference," said Stowe. "I was so proud of the kids for listening to the adjustments we made at the half and going out there and executing."
Dyersburg led 20-14 with just over two minutes left in the first half before the Tide made a push to take the lead before the half. On second down at the Trojan 38-yard line, Bauguse connected with James Haynes in stride for the touchdown strike with 2:06 left in the half.
While the Tide scored, the momentum of the game was about to take a turn, oddly enough on the PAT. Dyersburg's Shavon Henderson burst through the line to block the attempt to leave the game knotted at 20-20.
Though the Trojans fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Tide took over at the Dyersburg 26-yard line, the Black and Gold defense stood tall as Peabody failed to capitalize on the blunder before the half. The short drive ended when Chase Boehms intercepted a pass attempt in the end zone.
The second half, an inspired Trojan squad took the field and scored on its opening possession after forcing a Peabody punt when Smith ran left to pay dirt from five yards out. Evan Walden's third straight PAT split the uprights to make it 27-20 with 8:12 left in the third quarter.
On Peabody's second series, Bauguse went to the well once too often. Dyersburg's Montavious Lagrone was in the right place at the right time, picking off the pass and rumbling his way to the Tide 19-yard line.
Two plays later, on second and 16 from the Tide 24, Smith broke outside left and sprinted to the end zone. Walden's PAT put the Trojans in front 34-20 with 6:03 left in the quarter.
Another solid defensive stand by the Black and Gold forced a Peabody punt, giving the ball back to the Trojan offense at midfield. After a big run from Lagrone put Dyersburg at the Tide 3-yard line, Smith ran up the middle for his fifth score of the game and the rout was on. Walden's kick made it 41-20 with 32 ticks left in the third quarter.
Though the Tide battled to stay in the game, scoring from 36 yards out early in the fourth quarter, Smith added an additional touchdown with 5:43 to play to put the exclamation point on the Homecoming victory as Dyersburg was simply too much for the solid Peabody squad, winning 48-27.
Dyersburg ended the game with one turnover, something that Stowe could live with. The only negative in the victory was the fact the Trojans were penalized 11 times for 95 yards, something Stowe said is unacceptable.
"It's frustrating because we get one thing fixed and then something else gets us," added Stowe. "We've got to do a better job of not getting those penalties, but that's part of a young football team and we'll keep working on it."
While Stowe saw things that needed improvement, he was proud to see his team begin to come together at the midway point of the season.
"I'm excited about this group. We don't a have a big bunch, but what we do have is a good bunch. The kids that are working hard to get better every week," said Stowe. "We're excited about where we are, but we can get so much better."
The Trojans hit the road for a stern test this week when they travel to Alamo to meet district foe Crockett County on Friday at 7 p.m.