By Brian Paglia
There went Dutchtown running back Mycheal Brown on the first play of the game, running the Bulldogs' comfortable and effective power rush play, bouncing off defenders that had plugged his intended path and sprinting 88 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown.
There went Dutchtown coach Jason Galt's biggest fear.
"Sometimes as a coach, you hate for that to happen," Galt said. "When something like that happens, the kids let down."
For the next 23 minutes 40 seconds, the Bulldogs let down. They turned the ball over twice, each time leading to a Stockbridge touchdown. Galt felt the Bulldogs defense had failed to tackle well. Dutchtown's methodical Double Wing rushing offense proved effective in producing a few big plays, but not in operating with its intended precision.
Dutchtown fixed that in the third quarter, a quarter that disappeared in 17 rushing plays, two fourth-down conversions, a third-down conversion, 82 yards and a go-ahead touchdown. Precision had returned to Dutchtown's offense, an entire quarter had been consumed and the Bulldogs were on their way to a 27-14 victory over Stockbridge at home Friday in a non-region game.
"Everybody stepped it up in the second half when we needed to," Brown said.
Brown shouldered a great deal of the offense in the second half. While he rushed for 113 yards in the first half alone, his 88-yard touchdown run on the game's first play accounted for most of that production. He had just four more carries the rest of the first half.
But in the second half, Dutchtown (1-0) utilized Brown to wear down the Stockbridge defense. The senior finished with 209 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 19 carrries, and the Tigers (0-1) had no answer.
"Trully, it feels great knowing a team can't stop me," Brown said. "But, I want other players to get their chances, too."
Other players did.
Kelvin Leaphart rushed for 75 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries and caught a 53-yard touchdown pass from Wendall Long that put Dutchtown up 14-7 in the second quarter.
When Dutchtown faced fourth-and-three on their lengthy third-quarter drive, Khalil Thurman burst through for a 10-yard run and the conversion. Leaphart's rushing touchdown punctuated the drive to put the Bulldogs up 20-14 early in the fourth quarter.
After a night spent paving the way for Brown and Leaphart, fullback Shaun Nichols Jr. covered 18 yards on two carries that carried Dutchtown to Stockbridge's 5-yard line as Bulldogs. Brown punctuated the drive with his second touchdown.
With all hands on deck, Dutchtown rushed for 318 yards and physically overpowered Stockbridge.
"Our defense played a lot of snaps," Stockbridge coach Kevin Whitley said. "We didn't get off the field. (Brown) was definitely a good runner."