State Playoffs: Tigers manage Dresden, 28-13 | Sports

The Fayetteville Tigers clinched their ticket to the Elite Eight in the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Playoff 1A by defeating the Dresden Lions 28-13.

Tiger Graham Pace (7) drives through the Dresden defence.

Dresden came to Tiger Hill with the aim of testing the toughness of the Tigers. The Lions have relied on a solid running game all season. Dresden looked to keep the game close, then wear Fayetteville down in the fourth quarter and take the win late.

DSC05028 - Kentius Henderson (84) had a big game with two interceptions, returning that pick for 40 yards.jpg

Kentius Henderson (84) had a big game with two interceptions, returning that pick for 40 yards.

However, the Tigers defense answered the toughness question as they dominated the line of scrimmage. Dresden couldn’t run and when they tried to pass, the Lions were under constant pressure from the Fayetteville defensive front.

Fayetteville struck early against the Lions. Jaterious Derrick took over the opening kick from the Dresden 5-yard line. Aljarea Johnson hit it a few plays later and Fayetteville led 6-0. Dresden went three times on their possession and had to punt. The Tigers fumbled the punt and gave the Lions good field position. Dresden played a fixed play and took a 7-6 lead. The first quarter ended with Dresden leading 7-6.

DSC05260 - FHS Coach Kenny Morson congratulates QB Sam Holdmeyer after victory.jpg

FHS Coach Kenny Morson congratulates QB Sam Holdmeyer after the win.

Graham Pace scored from 1 yard for Fayetteville as they regained a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter. The Tigers dominated the rest of the quarter with their defense.

Fayetteville scored on the last play of the half. Sam Holdmeyer found Isaiah Thomison 11 yards out for the touchdown reception and the Tigers took a 21-7 lead into the half.

The teams traded punts for most of the third quarter. Holdmeyer found Corian Cash, who had a highlight catch, for a touchdown from 54 yards, making it 28-7 Fayetteville midway through the fourth quarter. Dresden added a touchdown on the last play of the game as coach Kenny Morson replaced the game heavily in control.

Kentius Henderson led the defense with two interceptions. He had three interceptions

in the first two playoff games.

“Nice win tonight, it was a tough game,” said coach Morson. “Dresden came to play. Our guys were very resilient and fought to move on. Our defense, they played the lights. Offensively, we made some big plays. (I am) really proud of our Tigers!

Fayetteville can now turn their attention to the state’s No. 2 ranked team as the McKenzie Rebels come calling. McKenzie beat Cornersville, 28-0, to earn the right to visit Tiger Hill.

Coach Morson knew if his Tigers kept winning these two teams would cross paths, but he and his staff will be ready.

McKenzie certainly believes they have the team to beat the defending state champions in their own backyard. The Tigers have heard this before. To quote legendary heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Some might think it’s time to get the popcorn ready for this game.

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