DORMAN -- Despite dominating the statistics for the first three quarters, Dorman rallied from seven down in the third quarter and defeated South Pointe, 21-14 in the regular-season finale for both schools.
The two teams entered the contest at Dorman in very similar situations. The Cavaliers and Stallions had 8-2 records, were coming off humbling losses, and had a playoff situation wrapped up before the game kicked off.
With little on the line in regards to playoff seeding, the game represented nothing more than a late-season scrimmage. Obviously winning is important, but gaining experience, keeping players free from injury, and gaining momentum proved more important than the final outcome.
The Cavaliers' program has more than 40 years of experience, while South Pointe is in its infancy in just its second year. Last season, the Cavaliers defeated the Stallions 42-14, so no doubt coach Bobby Carroll has his program heading in the right direction.
The Stallions will use the loss as a learning experience in an attempt to make a long run in the school's first playoff appearance.
Through three quarters, the Stallions held a 14-7 lead and appeared to have the game at hand, but the Cavaliers came up with two big plays from running back Walt Canty, one on screen passes from quarterback Johnny Foster.
Canty took a pass and raced 64 yards to set up Christian Graham on a 10-yard run for the tying touchdown.
After a South Pointe punt, Dorman used a four play, 58-yard drive, capped by a 35-yard run by Canty for the go-ahead score.
South Pointe had two opportunities to tie the game on offense, the final chance with just under a minute remaining after taking over on its own 31. Gilmore drove the Stallions inside of Dorman territory, but Cavalier cornerback Taylor Sowell intercepted Gilmore's fourth-down pass and Dorman ran out the remaining 16 seconds.
The fourth quarter played out in direct contrast to the game's first three quarters.
South Pointe dominated the first two periods on the stat sheet, but a late Dorman drive tied the game at seven at intermission.
The Stallions struck first with an 18-yard touchdown run by star running back Devin Wherry. Two plays earlier, the drive nearly stalled when the Cavaliers appeared to stop Wherry on a fourth down-and-seven after a perfect option pitch from quarterback Stephon Gilmore.
The officials originally ruled that Wherry was short, but after a second measurement, awarded the first down to the Stallions. Leading 7-0, and with a stout defense that held Dorman to 14 yards, South Pointe looked to be in great shape.
In what would become a pattern in the game, Dorman came up with an answer to South Pointe's score.
The Cavaliers tied the game just before intermission with a seven-play, 65-yard drive. Prior to that drive, the Stallions' defense held Dorman to just 14 yards of total offense.
The Stallions' final score was set up by a big interception from Pat Burris. Burris came up with an interception at the goal line just two plays after he tackled a Dorman receiver destined for the goal line.
Burris returned the interception 22 yards, but South Pointe failed to put the game away.
"This was a gutsy game for our team," said South Pointe coach Bobby Carroll. "We will learn a lot from watching the film; we missed a couple of assignments late. We still have a very young team, we are thrilled to be in the playoffs and I am excited about the opportunity.
"Dorman has an excellent football program with a lot of tradition. Despite the loss, to come to their place and play as well as we did shows a lot about the heart of our team. We can't wait to see the seedings for the playoffs and start preparing for a run at the title."