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Mt. Juliet gets blues in Memphis
Nov 25, 2012 12:00 am
By Jeff Neal
MEMPHIS — A year after being blown out by Whitehaven in Mt. Juliet, the Golden Bears gave the Tigers all they cared for in Friday's Class 6A semifinal rematch.
But Ole Miss-commitment Mark Dodson was too much for the Bears as his 88-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter broke a tie and Whitehaven held on for a 41-35 victory on Elvis Presley Boulevard.
Dodson drove through the Bears for 296 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries as the Tigers punched their return ticket to the BlueCross Bowl with a 14-0 record.
But Mt. Juliet's 1-2 running punch of Caleb Hopkins and Contrez McCathern almost matched the Tigers as they combined for four scores and 230 yards as the Bears wrapped up a 12-2 campaign.
"Our guys battled," Mt. Juliet coach Roger Perry said after coaching 23 seniors for the final time. "We had too many penalties.
"Great group [of seniors]. They will be great men in society."
Mt. Juliet never led, but matched Whitehaven score for score most of the night.
Dodson's 5-yard run 90 seconds into the game staked the home team to a 7-0 lead.
Hopkins, who finished with 148 yards on 19 carries, tied the score on a 10-yard run less than three minutes later.
Dodson's 6-yard run on the first play of the second quarter put Whitehaven back in front before MaCathern, who closed his spectacular Mt. Juliet career with 82 yards on 18 rushes, tied the score on a 13-yard run.
Quarterback Patrick Smith put Whitehaven back in front with a 3-yard run and hit wideout Darrius Sims with a 50-yard scoring strike on third and 20 for a 28-14 halftime lead.
Hopkins scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards, sandwiched around an onside kick recovery by Mt. Juliet.
But Dodson broke the tie with a 57-yard scoring run.
McCathern's 1-yard run 45 seconds into the fourth quarter brought the Bears into a 35-35 deadlock.
But Mt. Juliet didn't have a final answer for the Tigers as the Bears' best scoring chance came in the final minute from midfield.
"I had a lot of confidence," Perry said of the last series. "It's a team game and we didn't get it done."
Whitehaven will return to Cookeville for a BlueCross Bowl rematch with defending champion Maryville, which came from behind to beat Siegel 47-43, next Saturday night at Tennessee Tech's Tucker Stadium.