Phenomenal defensive efforts from both teams and a huge time-consuming, touchdown winning drive proved the difference in Monday night’s Pee Wee finals of the Unified Football League as Darlington topped the Dirty Birds 8-0 at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club Fields in West Rome.
The game-winning drive started when the Tiger’s Sawyer Dunagan managed to wrestle a loose ball away from a Dirty Bird player, giving the Tigers the ball at their own 37-yard line.
The Tigers then dialed up a steady dose of runs, as Dunagan, the Tigers’ quarterback, got the snap and proceeded to run the ball nine consecutive times, moving Darlington to the Dirty Birds’ 10-yard line. The Dirty Birds’ defense stood tough on the next two plays, forcing the Tigers into a third and goal from the seven-yard line.
Dunagan took the snap and managed to elude one tackler in the backfield before finding a seam and splitting it into the end zone for the seven-yard touchdown. The Tigers’ Ben Sanker delivered the extra point with a solid kick through the uprights which earned two points and upped the lead to 8-0 with less than a minute to play.
After taking over on the 31-yard line, the Dirty Birds hopes of mounting a late scoring drive ended when the Tigers’ Jack Elam recovered a fumble, effectively ending the contest.
Both squads had solid moments in the first two quarters but mistakes, including bad snaps and penalties halted drives well short of scoring, leaving the two teams deadlocked at 0-0 at halftime.
After the Dirty Birds’ defense forced a three and out from the Tigers to start the third quarter, their offense began rolling. Cade Crawford and Gabriel Thacker alternated at quarterback with both players getting some solid yardage as did Noah Wilson. The Dirty Birds rode their solid running efforts to a first and goal at the Tigers’ five-yard line.
A bad snap caused a 15-yard loss on the ensuing play, and the Tigers’ defense refused to allow any more positive gains before recovering the fumble at the start of the fourth quarter.
The win moves the Tigers’ record on the season to a perfect 10-0, while the Dirty Birds finish with a 9-2 record. Both losses came at the hand of the Tigers.