By Brian Paglia
As Glynn Academy faced fourth-and-three at its own 27 with 3:45 left in the game, Dutchtown felt confident it knew which play the Red Terrors would choose to extend their final chance to score.
Faced with a critical third-down earlier, Glynn Academy had run a play-action pass in which quarterback Arshon Spaulding rolled out to his right hoping to find a receiver open behind the Bulldogs secondary. Instead, linebacker Rodney Brown had come unblocked up the middle on a blitz, sacked Spaulding and forced Glynn Academy to punt.
So with its most pivotal defensive play forthcoming, with the play-action pass fresh in its memory, Dutchtown decided to stick to what worked.
"When you blitz, you're taking chances," Dutchtown coach Jason Galt said. "They're going to hit you every once in awhile. ... We find a way to make a play. That's just kind of what we've done all year long."
Dutchtown guessed correctly. Glynn Academy ran the same play-action play, Brown came through the middle unblocked again and pressured Spaulding into delivering an under-thrown pass that sophomore Donovahn Jones intercepted.
Two first downs later, Dutchtown ran out the clock and survived for a 3-0 victory over Glynn Academy on Friday to advance to the Class AAAA quarterfinals.
The Bulldogs (11-1) will play at Chattahoochee (12-0), who was a 31-28 winner over Marist, on Nov. 27 for a spot in the semifinals.
"That pick sealed the game for us," Galt said, "because they still had a chance. They still had hope. (Jones) had a big game. He came through."
Jones, one of just two sophomores who start for Dutchtown, had a sack for a loss of 14 yards and recovered a fumble in the first quarter to go along with his interception.
"Donovahn Jones is a special athlete," Galt said. "He's going to be our quarterback next year and he's probably going to be a two-way player. He's just a very mature young man. I haven't started too many sophomores since I've been here. For him to start as a sophomore, that says a lot about him."
Jones was part of a typical Dutchtown defensive effort. Glynn Academy out-gained Dutchtown, 153-94, in the first half, but the Bulldogs led 3-0 thanks to a 54-yard field goal by Ryan Kay on the game's opening possession.
And the Bulldogs defense made Kay's field goal hold up. It held Glynn Academy to just 32 yards of offense in the second half. The Red Terrors converted just 1 of 9 third-down conversions. Dutchtown was victimized by several trick plays, but responded each time.
"They get inside our territory and all of a sudden we get them for a 12-yard loss," Galt said. "That's kind of been our M.O. all year. You give up a few plays and then you make a play."
While Dutchtown's offense was held scoreless for the second straight playoff game, it produced enough third-down conversions to control the clock. The Bulldogs rushed for 200 yards, led by Kelvin Leaphart's 103 yards on 16 carries.
Mychael Brown rushed for 51 yards on 18 carries, none more critical than his 3-yard run to convert on third-and-two that forced Glynn Academy to use its final timeout.
"I think it was really important to keep the defense off the field," Leaphart said. "They kept us in the game pretty much the whole game. I know it meant a lot to the defense, because it got them rested, got them ready for the next drive. I just wanted to win."