Wave falls at home

Published 12:16 am Friday, October 21, 2011

Eric Shelton | The Natchez Democrat — Cathedral’s Tyler Flemming gets around Dexter’s Amos Briggs during their game Thursday night at Cathedral. Dexter upset the Green Wave 36-34 Thursday night.

NATCHEZ — When it came to making plays, Dexter High School did and Cathedral High School didn’t.

That was Green Wave head coach Ron Rushing’s assessment following his team’s first loss of the season, a 36-34 contest that was actually more lopsided than the score indicated.

A late touchdown by Cathedral with 1.7 seconds left in regulation made the final score more respectable, but the Green Wave defense allowed 585 yards of total offense. Out of 20 completed passes by the Bulldogs, 12 of them were for more than 10 yards.

“We came out and didn’t play well early,” Rushing said. “We’ve been flat all week, and I didn’t do a very enough job of getting them ready to play. Hats off to Dexter, they had some guys step up and made some big plays and did what they had to do.”

Cathedral actually scored first on a 3-yard run by Jadarius Ealey after the Green Wave had a nice mix of run and pass on their opening drive. Ealey scored with 9:54 left in the first, and an offside penalty by Dexter led to Rushing opting to go for two. Ealey ran it in, giving Cathedral an 8-0 lead early.

Dexter scored its first touchdown with 4:33 left in the first on a 6-yard pass from quarterback Clifford Fernandez to Dante Butler. Ron Harvey caught the two-point conversion pass, tying the game 8-8 after one.

Cathedral was unable to get a consistent push in the trenches after that, and Upton was rattled all night, completing just 13 of 31 passes for 268 yards with one interception. Dexter scored again with 4:59 left in the second on a 3-yard run by Fernandez. Vonta Owens caught the two-point conversion pass.

With 1:05 left before intermission, Cathedral cut the score 16-14 when Tyler Flemming caught a 7-yard pass from Upton. Upton attempted a pass for two, but it fell incomplete.

Things looked good for Cathedral early in the third quarter when Josh Wilkerson got an interception on a play he read perfectly. On the next play, however, Upton fumbled the ball, giving it right back to the Bulldogs deep in their own territory.

On third and long, the Bulldogs hit Owens for a short pass, and Owens outran the Cathedral defense en route to an 85-yard touchdown reception with 9:29 left in the third. Fernandez got the two-point conversion on a quarterback keeper.

The Green Wave responded with a touchdown drive of their own, capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Upton. Lee Fairbanks missed the extra point, though, making it 24-20 Dexter at the end of the third.

Dexter scored again in the fourth on a 35-yard catch by Butler with 11:47 to go. The Bulldogs’ two-point conversion pass was incomplete.

On the ensuing Green Wave possession, Cathedral’s Carl Hammitte had a 47-yard touchdown reception with 11:21 to go. Fairbanks once again missed the extra point, though, making it 30-26 Dexter.

Cathedral was unable to get over the hump in the next 10 minutes of play, and the Bulldogs finally put the game away with 43 seconds left on a 5-yard touchdown run by Fernandez.

The Green Wave actually drove down the field and scored on a 4-yard reception by Daniel Huffines, but there was only 1.7 seconds left on the clock, not enough time to mount a comeback. Ealey ran the two-point conversion.

Despite the loss, Rushing said the game could act as a positive in the long run.

“I told someone the other day, we need to have some tough games here at the end of the season and be battle-tested going into the playoffs,” Rushing said.

“I think this is going to help us more than anything, I really do.”

Cathedral is now 8-1 on the season, 6-1 in Region 4-1A.