Despite a sluggish start that allowed the Rebels to hold a 7-0 advantage at the end of the opening quarter, when the Trojans woke up to start the second period, it was night-night on any hopes Obion County had of pulling of a major upset.
Dyersburg went to work in the second period, reaching pay dirt on five separate occasions. The result was a 37-point quarter for the Black and Gold, one that was the beginning of the end for the visitors.
"My hat's off to the Obion players for the way they came out swinging. They were executing well early and kind of caught us off guard," said Trojan head coach Bart Stowe afterward. "I thought they kind of slapped us in the face and that's exactly what we needed, but in doing so they woke up a sleeping giant."
Trailing 7-0 to start the second quarter, the sleeping giant that was Dyersburg woke up and went to work.
Dyersburg was just warming up.
After a stellar defensive stand by the Trojan defense forced a Rebel punt, Smith made sure his final regular-season game would have plenty of memories.
A 46-yard sprint from Smith into Rebel territory put the Trojans in business at the 23-yard line. On third and 8 at the 21-yard line, quarterback Will Bradshaw spotted Carlos Caldwell in the end zone. The junior signal caller was on the money to the wide-open Caldwell for the second Dyersburg score in as many minutes, lifting the Trojans in front after Walden's kick, 14-7 with 3:48 left in the half.
Things went from bad to worse three plays later for the Rebels, evidenced by a punt for 0 yards. Dyersburg took over on the Obion County 47-yard line and went to Smith to increase the lead.
On the first play from scrimmage, Smith broke through the line and was home free on a 47-yard sprint to the end zone for his second score of the quarter. The Trojans added a 2-point conversion when Clint Perkins connected with Aaron Gauldin for a 22-7 lead with 1:30 to play in the quarter.
Over the next 1:20, Dyersburg scored 15 points.
The first of the final two scores came eight seconds after taking a 22-7 lead. On Obion County's first play from scrimmage after the ensuing kickoff, Dyersburg's Jamael Lunsford tipped a Rebel pass at the line of scrimmage, corralled the ball and scrambled his way to pay dirt from 20 yard away. Walden's kick put the Trojans on top, 29-7.
The final score of the half came courtesy of Smith, but this one came on the defensive side of the ball. On third and 10 at the DHS 40-yard line, Smith stepped in front of a receiver and the moved paid off when Mr. Touchdown outran the Rebels untouched to the end zone on a 60-yard sprint. Smith added the conversion as well as Dyersburg entered the half on top 37-7.
"That quarter was just a blur," said Stowe. "I don't know if I've seen anything like it, but I'll take it."
The momentum gained in the second quarter continued in the third when Bradshaw tossed his second touchdown of the game, a 2-yard pass to Clint Perkins with 10:23 left in the quarter.
With the mercy rule in effect, Obion County continued to struggle on its next series when Dyersburg's Chase Boehms pounced on a Rebel fumble. Minutes later, Bradshaw threw his third strike of the contest, again connecting with Perkins. Walden's PAT made it 51-7 with 4:56 left in the third.
Bradshaw finished the game going 7-of-11 for 140 yards to go with the three touchdowns, easily ending the night with his best game of the season and drawing praise from Stowe.
"Will did a real good job of throwing some good balls tonight," said Stowe. "He's managed the offense well all season, and I haven't had to ask him to make a ton of plays this season, but tonight I did and he really stepped up."
Leading 51-15, Dyersburg's final score of the game came courtesy of senior Billy Jenkins on a 4-yard run with over six minutes to play. Walden added the point-after as Dyersburg capped off a remarkable regular season run with the 58-23 victory.
The victory had significance for Stowe as it marked the first time in his career that he has enjoyed an 8-game winning streak, not to mention the first time he has led a team to a 9-1 finish.
"I'm truly thankful and this year has been a blessing. On a personal note I'm proud of what we have achieved so far. This season is a true testament to our coaches as well as our players because they're doing a great job," added Stowe. "We all have our roles and we work together well. We have really good chemistry on our team and I think that is showing up on the field. We have some great kids in our program and I'm just extremely proud of all of them."