There is a relative saying in sports that states offense sells tickets and defense wins games. If that theory holds any truth to it, then the Dollarway Cardinals’ offense sells plenty of tickets.
Dollarway (7-0, 4-0 in 2-4A) is in first place in the conference and has done so by outscoring its opponents this season 293-48. And even though Dollarway’s defense only allows an average of 6.8 points per game including three consecutive shutouts this season, the Cardinals’ offense has depth and speed that gives them the opportunity to get on the board early and often. The athleticism across the board at the skill positions is what Dollarway head coach Cortez Lee calls “a team’s best weapon.”
“It allows you to throw or run on first down and run on third down successfully,” Lee said.
In terms of running and throwing, that skill set is led by senior dual-threat quarterback Joshua Liddell. Through the season Liddell has completed 29-of-38 passes for 721 yards. His passing touchdown to interception ratio is 7 to 1.
While Liddell is efficient whenever a passing play is called, it’s the running game that does the most damage against Dollarway’s opponents. He has 58 rushes for 778 yards and 12 touchdowns. Having a quarterback that can run and pass is a benefit that Lee recognizes.
“It’s hard for a defense to prepare,” he said. “If a breakdown occurs, then the quarterback can analyze and monitor to adjust.”
And while Liddell leads a high scoring offense, he has the help of a pair of running backs in senior Darius Robinson and junior Keshawn Williams. Williams averages 11.3 yards per carry while Robinson averages 10.8 yards per carry. Dollarway’s go-to receivers consist of senior Kabion Ento and junior Henri Murphy. Both receivers average over 20 yards a catch and Ento leads the team in receiving touchdowns with 6 and Murphy is behind him with 3.
This big play ability is what Dollarway will continue to utilize as they play tonight against the Stuttgart Ricebirds (4-3, 3-1), the defending 4A state champions.
“Managing the clock keeps the defense healthy,” Lee said. “It kind of goes hand in hand when a group sees the other do well then they’ll want to come out and match their intensity to do just as well.”