PREP FOOTBALL: Bulldogs leave Tanner with 44-25 region win

The Addison Bulldogs toppled Tanner on the road 44-25 Friday night to improve to 6-2 on the season. (Photo courtesy of Cindy Luker)

TANNER, Ala. – Addison traveled to Rip Swanner Field in Tanner, Alabama to take on a rebuilding Tanner Rattlers team in a region game. What looked like a mismatch on paper, well, turned out to be a mismatch on the field. Addison looked like it was playing a junior varsity squad due to the Rattlers going with a plethora of younger players.  In most instances, Tanner was playing several eighth and ninth graders against the veteran Bulldogs.

The game opened with Addison taking the opening kickoff from its own 27-yard line and driving down the field for a Bulldog touchdown. “Mr. Versatile” Grant Rice started at quarterback and carried the Dawgs down field connecting on a nice 21-yard pass to WR Luke “You throw it I catch it” Chambers. Running back Weston “Big Game” Smith finished the drive off with a strong 19-yard touchdown run. The 2-point conversion was good and Addison led 8-0. This is when the game clock decided it had seen enough and quit working for the remainder of this very long game.

After a Tanner series which saw the Rattlers lose 12 yards on three plays, they punted to Addison. After an exchange of punts, Addison took possession at Tanner’s 27-yard line. Quarterback Christian Roberts then found wide out Brody Dollar for a nice 17-yard catch and run for the touchdown. The 2-point conversion was good and Addison led 16-0 in the first quarter.

The second quarter was more of the same. Addison’s Justin Mather picked off a Rattler pass and returned it 35 yards to the Tanner 20-yard line. Two plays later, running back Caleb “The Bus” Crider pounded his way into the end zone from 12 yards out. The 2-point conversion was no good and Addison was up 22-0 in the second quarter.

Addison kicked off and Tanner finally got a spark from return man, Nick Gibson. Gibson returned the kickoff down to the Addison 41-yard line. After a short run, Tanner’s eighth-grade quarterback Skylar Townsend found receiver J.J. Jones for a 40-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was good and Addison’s lead was cut to 22-7. Townsend is the first cousin of Alabama running back Chadarius Townsend.

Addison responded to the challenge and scored on a Crider 1-yard touchdown plunge. Addison had driven the ball 49 yards with Crider being responsible for 39 of the yards gained. The 2-point try was good and Addison extended the lead to 30-7.

After forcing another Tanner punt, Roberts hit Rice for a 25-yard touchdown pass on a nice corner route. The extra point by Eli Howse was good and Addison took a commanding 37-7 lead into intermission.

The Dawgs took their first possession of the second half and drove 56 yards for another touchdown. Smith took it in from 15 yards out. The extra point was good and Addison held a dominating 44-7 lead with about six minutes left in the third quarter.

At this point, Head Coach David Smothers turned the game over to his second team and the junior team. What we learned was that Tanner’s starters are better than Addison’s junior team.

Tanner took over after an Addison fumble at its own 1-yard line and Alex Guster took it 99 yards on the next play for a Rattler touchdown. The 2-point conversion was no good and the Dawg lead was cut to 44-13.

Tanner picked off a Bulldog pass and turned a fourth-and-9 into a 65-yard touchdown pass from Townsend to Coby Horton. The conversion was no good and the score was 44-19.

Tanner’s next possession resulted in another Townsend to J.J. Jones touchdown pass. This was a thing of beauty as Jones went up over the young Bulldog defender to make a great 30-yard touchdown catch. The conversion was no good and the final tally was Addison 44, Tanner 25.

Addison played well and did what it had to do by beating an undermanned Rattler team. Tanner is obviously rebuilding and the future bodes well for the Rattlers due to players like Townsend and Horton.

Addison moves to 6-2 (3-1 region) while Tanner falls to 1-6 (1-3) region. The Bulldogs are at home next week against Tharptown while Tanner goes on the road to region-leading Red Bay.

Unofficial stats are as follows: Addison had 44 rushes for 382 yards. Addison had nine completions for 122 yards. Addison had 60 total plays for 504 total yards. Tanner had 24 rushes for 115 yards and 6 completions for 190 yards. Tanner had 38 total plays for 305 yards.

Individual stats are as follows: Roberts was 6-of-8 for 98 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Rice was 2-of-5 for 21 yards and no picks or touchdowns.

Crider led the Dawgs in rushing with six carries for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Smith had 10 carries for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Rice had eight carries for 87 yards. Roberts had two carries for 30 yards.

Rice had two catches for 48 yards and one score. Dollar had one catch for 22 yards and a touchdown.

The defensive numbers were down due to Tanner’s numerous three-and-outs. Matthew Harris led the Bulldog defense with five tackles. Jeb Robinson had three tackles. Crider, Nelson Hernandez, Cannon Hiller, Smith and Austin Bryson had two tackles each. Crider, Smith and Jake Wilson each had a sack. Chambers and Justin Mather each had an interception.

Addison will need help in order to win a region championship, but a two seed is all but assured if the Bulldogs end the season with wins against Tharptown and Hatton.

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