Dreads Clip Saline for Outright SEC Red Title
One streak was broken and the biggest one is yet to come next week for the Dexter football team.
The Dreadnaughts clipped Saline 21-14 in an epic battle against two very good football teams Friday night to claim the outright SEC Red title Friday night.
Dexter had clinched a share of the title last week when the Hornets lost to Bedford, but the Dreadnaughts wanted the title to themselves and keep Saline from a share of its ninth straight SEC Red title and they did just that.
The game was a battle from the start as the teams went toe-to-toe right down to the final seconds of the game.
Saline took the opening kickoff and drove 80-yards in impressive fashion and scored on a one-yard TD run by Ryan Niethammer. The extra point was blocked and the Hornets led 6-0.
The Hornet defense forced a three-and-out on Dexter’s first possession and drove deep into Dreadnaught territory and was poised to build on its lead, but a bad snap on fourth and one was fumbled and recovered by the Dreads Devin Emrick at the 16-yard line.
Dexter’s offense came to life thanks to a short passing game. Reeves Taylor completed five passes, three to Joey Tessmer and one each to Cole Cabana and Brennan Parachek to move to the Saline 41 to end the first quarter.
The Dreads faced a 4th and one when Cabana busted free for 21 yards to the Hornets 20. Five plays later Cabana busted in from five yards out and a Gerzon Herter extra point made it 7-6 Dexter.
Garrett Baldwin returned the kickoff to the Saline 41, but two plays later Micah Davis stepped in front of a pass for Dexter and returned it to the Saline 37.
Three straight Cabana carries moved the ball to the Saline 14 and Taylor hit Cabana with a swing pass for a 14-yard TD and a 14-6 lead.
The Hornets got the ball back with 5:52 left in the half and drove to the Dexter four-yard line with two seconds left in the half. Saline elected to go for it instead of a field goal and the Dreadnaughts Herter made a great play in the endzone to tip the final pass away for an incomplete and keep the score 14-6.
After a Dexter punt to open the second half, Saline drove down field and got a break when CJ Carr tried to run it into the endzone and fumbled the ball. Matt Walper fell on the ball in the endzone for a touchdown and Niethammer ran in the two-point conversion to tie the game at 14.
Dexter drove into Saline territory, but a personal foul knocked them back and they were forced to punt.
Saline’s drive stalled and was forced to punt, but two plays later Sullivan Mills recovered a fumble near midfield near the end of the third.
The Hornets moved to Dexter 35 and on fourth and three they again went for it and Micah Davis broke up the fourth-down pass with a bone-jarring hit to give the Dreads the ball back.
It was all Cabana from there as he touched the ball the next eight plays and scored on a two-yard run with 5:49 left to give Dexter a 21-14 lead.
Saline took over at the 20 and calmly drove down the field and converted on 4th and 10 to move to the Dexter 20 with just over a minute to go.
A five-yard run by Niethammer moved the ball to the Dexter 15. Two straight incomplete passes gave Saline a 4th and 5 with 20 seconds left.
Carr rolled left and was forced to scramble and was caught from behind by Brock Kamaromi short of the first down and Dexter took over on downs and held on for the win.
Saline outgained Dexter 352-252 in the game, but Dexter’s defense came through with the big plays when needed.
Cabana finished with 137 yards rushing and 2 TD’s and 46 yards receiving and a TD for Dexter.
Taylor was 12-17 passing for 118 yards and a TD. Tessmer caught five passes for 31 yards, while Parachek had three catches for 40 yards.
Carr was 26-34 passing and rushed for 46 yards on the night for the Hornets.
Niethammer rushed for 35 yards and a score, and James Rush 33 yards on nine carries.
Roman Laurio had a big night receiving with 11 catches for 87 yards, while Baldwin had five catches for 54 yards. Caid Fox caught four for 30 and Dylan Mesman two for 18.
Saline fell to 6-2 on the season and will wrap up the regular season at Lake Orion Friday
Dexter improved to 8-0 and finished 7-0 in the SEC Red.
The Dreadnaughts snapped a 59-year drought without a football league title. They now set their sights on another streak when they travel to Chelsea to face the arch-rival Bulldogs. Dexter has not beaten the Bulldogs in the last 26 years.