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Indians advance with dramatic last-minute TD

Jimmy Trodglen/


By Jimmy Trodglen


CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Montgomery Central used a power running game to reach the playoffs. But it was going to take a little more if the Indians wanted to stay around.

The Indians utilized their running back tandem of Devonta Skelton and Drez Sanders – who combined for more than 2,000 rushing yards during the regular season – but added a few pages to playbook that proved to be the difference Friday.

Skelton scored on a fourth-and-goal from the 10-yard line with 55 seconds remaining and Montgomery Central won its first-ever playoff game beating Hardin County 17-14 in the opening round of the 4A state playoffs.

The Indians’ game-winning touchdown was set up Ben Dawson’s 42-yard run on a quarterback keeper. One play earlier, Dawson completed an 18-yard pass to AJ Parker.

“We tried to add a few things because they had seen a lot of things on film, just like we had seen a lot of theirs,” Dawson said. “We tried to add something new they had never seen before to give us a greater option.”

Montgomery Central had attempted less than 40 passes during the regular season, but kept Hardin County’s defense off-balance with the introduction of a few plays.

“It’s playoff time, so you never know what you’re going to expect,” Indians coach Jeff Tomlinson said.

Kameron White’s long run off a reverse – another play added to the offense – set up Michael Lobdell’s 24-yard field goal goal before halftime.

“It turned out to be a huge play (White’s reverse run) and we said let’s try it, what do we have to lose?” Tomlinson said. “We threw the reverse out there and Kameron made a great play.”

Montgomery Central moved to 10-1 and will play at Jackson North Side Friday. If the Indians survive, they could have a quarterfinal home playoff game against Springfield. The Indians’ only loss was a 36-34 setback at Springfield.

Hardin County (8-3) scored on the game’s opening drive, covering 66 yards on 12 plays and converting a forth-and-15 into a 19-yard touchdown.

Following a Montgomery Central fumble two plays later, the Tigers made it 14-0 with a 8-yard TD run.

Hardin County had two turnovers, with the first setting up a short Montgomery Central touchdown drive.

Following a sack and fumble at the Hardin County 11-yard line, Dawson scored on a 2-yard run, cutting Hardin County’s lead to 14-6.

Lobdell missed the extra point, but added the 24-yard field goal on the last play of the half, cutting the Tigers’ deficit to 14-9.

Defense takes over

The Indians’ defense was effective in the second half forcing Hardin County into three punts and a turnover-on-downs. The Indians made three timely defensive stops on third-and-short forcing the punts.

“It really was some minor stuff, it wasn’t that big of an adjustment more so we were playing tight early and we relaxed into the flow of the game,” Tomlinson said. “It was like, ‘Ok, it’s just another football game, let’s go out and have some fun.'”

Final drive

With 3:49 remaining, the Indians took over at their 20-yard line with Dawson picking up 18-yards on his pass to Parker. One play later, Parker picked up 42-yards when he found wide-open space to the Hardin County 8-yard line. Facing a fourth-and-goal from the 10, Skelton scored his 20th and biggest touchdown this season.

“I was throwing everything at them I could possible put at them and Ben comes to me on the sideline and says, ‘Coach, just run triple. We’re good,'” said Tomlinson, referring to a play where Dawson can pitch the ball or take off if he has space. “I was like all right, go run triple and he rattled off a 48-yard run.”

Hardin County’s last opportunity ended with a fumbled snap at its 43-yard line.

“A lot of kudos to the defense,” Dawson said. “They stopped them on a couple of drive and credit to our linemen up front, they work hard every day.”

Jimmy Trodglen, editor, Twitter@Tnsports360