The Dorman Cavaliers were able to overcome a pesky Nation Ford team to knock the Falcons out of the 5A playoffs in the first round with a 52-35 road win.
If the Falcons are accustomed to something, it is accomplishing firsts. Now in its 10th season, the school is still making strides and and setting new benchmarks. Last Friday night, the Falcons hosted their first home playoff game against the Cavaliers.
Nation Ford got the opening kickoff and went right at Dorman, scoring in the first 90 seconds as senior quarterback Kirk Rygol hit Halen Burgess for a 32-yard score. Rygol hit Dewuan McCullum and Ben Tuipulotu for two big first downs on the drive which went just five plays. While it took a little longer, Dorman was able to mix it up and put together a scoring drive on its first attempt in the opening quarter to tie the game.
Dorman’s defense kept Rygol on the run for most of the first quarter, flushing him from the pocket and stalling the mobile quarterback from part of his biggest strength. The Cavaliers’ defense also held Shrine Bowl pick Alex Stennett in check keeping him double teamed at times, but he was finally able to get some breathing room in the second quarter and started getting open more. Dorman quarterback Jalen Fowler also kept the Falcons’ defense guessing on both the run and the pass using his feet and arm to keep Nation Ford on their toes.
The Cavaliers were able to take a two touchdown lead at 21-7 in the first half, but Nation Ford fought its way back before the end of the first half to tie the game. However, Dorman went up again scoring with about 24 seconds left in the first half.
Rygol and Stennett found each other in the end zone connecting on an eight-yard pass for a score in the third quarter and again cut into Dorman’s lead.
Leading by a touchdown, Dorman took the opening drive of the second half and went almost five minutes to extend its lead to 14. The drive went nine plays and was aided with a 41-yard run from Zack Hillstock, which took the Cavaliers into the red zone where they would score several plays later. Nation Ford fumbled on the next drive deep into their own territory and the Cavaliers’ Donnie Jackson returned the ball 15-yards to score and go up by three scores.
In the first half, Dorman scored two of its four touchdowns with gains of over 60-yards or more on one play. But the big play also hurt Dorman as Rygol hit Stennett for a 35-yard reception for a score to tie the game with about three minutes left in the first half.
The Falcons also struggled with turnovers fumbling the ball twice, both in the second half. The first time Dorman was able to capitalize, but on the second occasion, was stopped by the Nation Ford defense.
Rygol passed for five touchdowns and 384 yards in the loss. Stennett caught eight passes for 131 yards for the Falcons. Burgess caught eight passes as well for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Fowler passed for 256 yards and three touchdowns for Dorman, while Pinckney caught seven passes for 166 yards and Ratchford ran for 139 yards on 17 carries and two scores.
Dorman takes Westside, which edged Mauldin 17-15 on Friday, in the second round of the 5A playoffs. Nation Ford ends its season with a 7-4 record.
Dorman 52, Nation Ford 35
NF - Halen Burgess 32-yard reception from Kirk Rygol (Carter Richardson kick), 10:30
D - Marcus Ratchford one-yard run (Davis Rogers kick), 5:47
D - Jacob Pinckney 84-yard reception from Jalen Fowler (Rogers kick), 2:58
D - Ratchford 66-yard run (Rogers kick), 8:25
NF - Burgess 11-yard reception from Rygol (Richardson kick), 6:02
NF - Alex Stennett 35-yard reception from Rygol (Richardson kick), 2:42
D - Pinckney 10-yard reception from Fowler (Rogers kick), 24.5
D - Fowler one-yard run (Rogers kick), 7:07
D - Donnie Jackson 15-yard fumble recover (Rogers kick), 6:56
NF - Stennett eight-yard reception from Rygol (Richardson kick), 5:07
NF - Harry Goodwin one-yard reception from Rygol (Richardson kick), 8:23
D - Rogers 31-yard field goal, 4:28
D - Andrew Storch 11-yard reception from Fowler (Rogers kick), 1:15
First downs 20;24
Passing yards 256;384
Fumbles/lost 0-0; 2-2
RUSHING Dorman: Jalen Fowler 14-40, Zack Hillstock 3-44, Chase Tinsley 8-49, Marcus Ratchford 17-139. Nation Ford: Kirk Rygol 18-27, Rese Turner 2-6, Dewaun McCullum 3-1, Team 1-(-2).
PASSING Dorman: Jalen Fowler 16-23-0 256. Nation Ford: Kirk Rygol 32-47-0 384.
RECEIVING Dorman: Jacob Pinckney 7-166, Marcus Ratchford 4-30, Eli Buckley 2-36, Andrew Storch 1-11. Nation Ford: Alex Stennett 8-131, Halen Burgess 8-94, Ben Tuipulotu 8-76, Dewaun McCullum 3-46.
RECORDS Dorman 7-4; Nation Ford 7-4.