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Friday, Oct. 21, 2016

Choctaws fail to score against Bears, lose 40-0 on Homecoming

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dyer County's Bryce Heathcott avoids the Trezevant defense on a 23-yard run late in the first half of the 40-0 loss to the Bears.
Entering Friday's contest with Trezevant, the Dyer County football team was coming off fall break as well as a bye week.

The time off and extra week to prepare for the Bears, as well as scheduling the talented Memphis squad as the Homecoming opponent, turned out to be the wrong recipe for success.

The Choctaws never got started on Friday, suffering a punishing blow to their slim playoff hopes after dropping the non-district contest 40-0.

The shutout was the first time since a 41-0 thrashing at the hands of Brighton in the final game of the 2009 campaign that Dyer County has failed to put any points on the board, something that didn't set well with a guarded first-year head coach Barry Kendall afterwards.

"We didn't play well at all and when we have a game like this it's hard to come away with any positives," said Kendall. "We had a good defensive game plan and thought there were some things we could do offensively, but we just didn't come to play."

Kendall was putting it mildly.

The Choctaw offense, known for scoring points in a hurry with quick strikes to the end zone, was non-existent for the majority of the contest. DC quarterback Tucker Cozort was chased from start to finish by a speedy Bear defense, a unit that blew through the DC offensive line at will. Cozort finished 11-of-28 for 119 yards and one interception through the air and rushed 10 times for minus-31 yards.

The DC offense overall managed just 109 yards of total offense compared to 287 for Trezevant (7-2). The leading rusher for the Choctaws was Bryce Heathcott with 23 yards, all of which came on one carry near the end of the first half.

While the effort up front on the offensive line was challenged throughout the contest, DC was playing without lineman Garrett Walker and senior Caleb Reader was playing through the pain of a shoulder injury, something that didn't help DC any at all according to Kendall.

"They (Trezevant) were putting seven in the box and taking the run game away which forced us to throw it," added Kendall. "We've got some kids that are really banged up and the protection up front just didn't hold up to the pressure. Our quarterback got knocked around pretty good several times back there because of it."

The Choctaws couldn't catch a break against the Bears, and the bad luck started early.

After the Bears scored on their opening possession and converted a 2-point play for an 8-0 lead, the Choctaws fumbled the ensuing kickoff after a decent return from Devante Hill. The miscue put the Bears at the Choctaw 31-yard line. Four plays and just over a minute later, Bear quarterback Jordan Spencer tossed an 11-yard touchdown strike to Lamarcus Stewart.

Two series later, DC put together its best drive of the half and perhaps the entire game. After picking up two first downs on Cozort completions to Matthew Pease and Austin Richardson, the Choctaws looked poised to reach the end zone and gain some much-needed momentum.

Unfortunately for Dyer County, there would be no momentum built on this October night.

On first and 10 at the Bear 17-yard line, a Cozort pass to Heathcott was ruled a fumble on what appeared to be an incomplete pass. The Bears scooped the ball up and ended the threat, as well as any chance the Choctaws had of overcoming the deficit.

After moving the ball to the DC 48-yard line, Trezevant's Spencer ran up the middle and sprinted to pay dirt on second down. The 52-yard scamper proved to be the knockout punch, one the Choctaws never recovered from for the rest of the half as well as the game.

The Bears led 22-0 at the end of the quarter before adding 18 additional points in the second to take a commanding as well as convincing 40-0 lead at the half.

In the second half, while DC kept the Bears from reaching the end zone, they never reached the goal line either. With the mercy rule in effect, the clock moved rather swiftly as the Choctaws fell to 4-5 overall with an 0-4 mark in district play.

DC will end the regular season on Friday when Brighton rolls into Newbern for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

With one game remaining, Kendall remains optimistic despite the disappointment of the lopsided 40-0 loss to the Bears.

"I'm very disappointed with our performance tonight, but I still believe in this team and know that we have some good-character kids that are going to come out next week ready to play Choctaw football," he added. "At 5-5 we still have a shot at the playoffs, and Brighton is beatable."

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