By Jeffery Armstrong
Mt. Zion Bulldogs senior running back Aubrey Dorsey set a new Clayton County high school rushing record Saturday night with 314 yards from scrimmage, leading the Bulldogs to a 25-21 win over the Stone Mountain Pirates in a Region 5-AAAA cross-over game at Tara Stadium.
Forest Park's Brandon Walker held the previous county rushing record, which was 290 yards against the Griffin Bears in 1995.
The Bulldogs (4-1) nearly blew a 25-point lead Saturday night, but Dorsey and his teammates stepped up in the final minutes to preserve the victory.
Dorsey carried the ball 30 times against the Pirates (2-3) and 10 of those runs were for key first downs, especially in the second half.
The senior's TD runs were from 8, 10 and 32 yards.
"I came out ready to play and I wasn't tired at all," Dorsey said. "I can't take all the credit tonight. I wouldn't have gotten all those rushing yards if it wasn't for the offensive line. They held it down."
The Bulldogs as a whole held it down in the first half against a Stone Mountain team that looked overmatched.
The Mt. Zion defense stopped Stone Mountain on its first three plays, forcing the Pirates to punt. Mt. Zion's offense then easily drove 68 yards in five plays, ending with Dorsey's eight-yard TD run for the 7-0 lead. Dorsey rushed for 49 yards during that drive.
Stone Mountain had trouble moving the ball against the aggressive Mt. Zion defense throughout the first half.
After Pirates quarterback Carlton Fears ran 28 yards for a first-down play in the first quarter, they were held to negative yardage from then on. Mt. Zion's Derek Slaughter and Martin Ward combined for a sack and the onslaught began.
The Bulldogs scored two second-quarter touchdowns, a 10-yard run by Dorsey and a three-yard scamper by quarterback Darryl Tolbert. Mt. Zion couldn't convert on an extra point and a two-point conversion, so the halftime score was 19-0 in favor of the Bulldogs.
Mt. Zion held the ball for 17 of the 24 minutes in the first half and the Bulldog defense held the Pirates to only eight total yards n in the half.
The second half didn't start well for Stone Mountain. Dorsey scored his final touchdown of the game on a 32-yard run with 7:35 left in the third quarter, which was highlighted by a beautiful stiff-arm of Pirates free safety Cord Parks.
But Stone Mountain didn't quit. Fears engineered an eight-play, 80-yard drive and he threw a three-yard TD pass to wide receiver Ridge Corbin to cut the lead to 25-7 with 4:18 left in the third.
Mt. Zion seemed to lose its focus on defense and the Pirates took advantage, raiding the scoreboard twice more in the fourth quarter.
Parks scored from four-yards out at the 9:53 mark and Fears hit Corbin for the two-point conversion to cut the Mt. Zion lead to 25-15.
After Mt. Zion committed two terrible penalties (they had nine penalties for 79 yards overall) and Stone Mountain stopped the Bulldogs on their next possession, Fears drove the Pirates downfield and hit Tedrick Colson for a 26-yard TD pass (on third-and-22). The two-point conversion failed and the score was 25-21 with 2:34 remaining in regulation.
Stone Mountain tried an on-side kick, but Mt. Zion recovered. Jamaal Clark and Dorsey made three big runs to run out the clock and seal a game that was closer than it should've been.
Mt. Zion plays its first Region 5-AAAA subregion game this Friday, traveling to Panthersville Stadium to face Columbia.
The Eagles of Columbia lost to South Atlanta 26-17 last Saturday.