PHOTO BY LISA McGINTY | LMc Photography
Dalton’s Brady Hignight leaps to make the catch above Waynedale’s Brayden Kidd while Grayson Lehman prepares to block during Friday night’s WCAL matchup.
By ZACH McFARREN
DGKN sports writer
DALTON Coming into Friday night’s game at McFarren Field, Dalton and Waynedale had just one thing in common. Both teams had been defeated soundly by a Garaway squad who many believe will make a deep run in the playoffs. Waynedale lost 33-3. Dalton went down 35-0. So even losses to a common opponent suggested that this may be a hotly contested game.
And so it was, until it wasn’t.
Early on, both teams made quick, easy work of the opposing defense. In fact, one play into the game, the Bulldogs were up 7-0 thanks to Cade Mullet taking a sweep around the left end and outrunning the entire Bears defense on his way to a 64 yard score.
Waynedale needed just a minute and a half to answer. A missed extra point made the score 7-6, and less than two minutes into the opening quarter, both teams had thrown a punch.
But the Bulldogs kept throwing punches, while the Golden Bears wouldn’t muster up another score until seconds remained in the game. In the end, Dalton walked away with a 42-13 victory, kicking off WCAL play in style.
After the initial Bear score, Dalton would reel off 35 straight points. Sammy Tomlinson was a large part of that, scoring four times on the night. His first score came in the opening quarter, taking a pitch from Ethan Stutz and going 27 yards to paydirt.
Sammy, who had 117 yards on 13 carries to go along with his four touchdowns, put Dalton up 28-6 heading into halftime after scoring on runs of 16 and 5 yards during the second frame.
Meanwhile, Dalton’s defense stiffened, forcing four Waynedale punts and a turnover on downs on their final five possessions of the half. For good measure, the Dawg defenders forced another punt and picked off two Waynedale passes in the second half. Grant Johnson and
Alex Hess both made great plays to give the ball back to the offense. And the offense did what they had been doing all night: put up points.
Junior receiver Jace Eberly, who led Dalton with two receptions for 55 yards, made the Bears pay for the punt when he hauled in a 31 yard touchdown pass from Colin Pearson (8 of 11, 130 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) on Dalton’s first possession of the third quarter. Then it was Tomlinson one more time. This time, he went straight up the middle untouched for 18 yards for his fourth and final touchdown of the evening.
With a running clock, Waynedale was able to hold the ball for what basically amounted to the last seven minutes. A harmless score with 14 seconds left was not enough to make this one close. And what started out as an interesting matchup between two league rivals ended with the Bulldogs announcing to the league that they are once again ready to play ball.