The Dollarway football team was cruising going into last week’s Newport game before the Greyhounds gave the Cardinals a scare.
With the game tied at 36, Newport drove down to the Dollarway 5-yard line, but the Cardinals blocked the potential game-winning field goal with 4 seconds left and went on to win the game 44-42 in overtime.
The hard-fought victory kept the Cardinals (4-0, 1-0 in 2-4A) perfect and gave them their first win in their new conference, but it woke them up a little bit.
“I think it was an eye-opener,” Dollarway coach Cortez Lee said. “It put things in perspective and if we go in flat and don’t finish a game, and we did finish that game, we know what the result will be.
“(Newport) came out and played hard and they had a chance to win. But we never quit and made some key plays and I thought we deserved to win it.”
On paper, Dollarway’s next game should not be much of a challenge as the Cardinals travel to Marianna Lee (0-3), which has not scored yet this season. Dollarway is also rated No. 3 in Hootens.com 4A rankings.
Lee made no illusions about it, Marianna is not a good team. But his team needs to prepare for the Trojans as if they could steal a victory from them.
“They haven’t had too much success so I am not going to sit here and act like they are having a lot of yards and scoring a lot of points,” Lee said. “But you never know and you prepare like they are trying to get a victory. It’s a game that has to be played and a game of significance.”
The Cardinals could be without their starting quarterback for the second game in a row. Xavier Long missed last week’s game due to an ankle injury he suffered at the end of the game against Crossett two weeks ago.
While Long’s injury has improved, he is still a game-time decision. Lee said Long is at about 90 percent right now and will wait to play him until he is fully healthy.
“I will play it accordingly,” he said. “I think he can do it right now, but I am looking at it as a situation if he isn’t 100 percent, then I am not going to play him.”
Running back Jeremiah Young took over for Long under center and passed for 122 yards and ran for 208 yards and five touchdowns.
“He prepared very well and he knows the plays and he had success last week,” Lee said. “So we still have that option.”
Joshua Liddell will continue at his normal running back spot and rushed for 86 yards last week. Keyshawn Williams got some extra carries and made full use of them as he rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Newport was able to attack Dollarway’s defense, specifically with running back Clay Turner, who rushed for 183 yards.
“We were not wrapping up well and the technique wasn’t that great,” Lee said. “Went with a lot of physical contact this week and more ground drills and hopefully that can help us have a better showing.”
In all, Lee is just working on a complete game and a hard-fought victory tonight.
“Another game that we have to prepare for and not take a team lightly that hasn’t had a lot of success,” he said. “Work on rallying to the ball, wrapping up and securing the victory as soon as possible.”
Dollarway (4-0) at Marianna Lee (0-3)
• 7 p.m. today
• 2-4A Conference records: Dollarway 1-0; Marianna Lee 0-1
• Last week: Dollarway def. Newport 44-42 in OT; Marianna Lee lost to Clinton 62-0