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Perfect Dora keeps on winning

Bulldogs head to third round

Mountain Eagle Sports Editor
Published November 16, 2002 2:10 AM CST

DORA -- Dora senior running back Steven Harrison was upset entering Friday night's second-round playoff game against Central-Florence.

Harrison was coming off a poor performance last week and was ready to hit the field.

"Steven actually came up to me and said, 'Coach, I'm sorry I played so bad,'" Dora coach Johnny Wright said of last week's first-round playoff game. "He was embarrassed about it. He couldn't wait to get out here tonight."

By the time the final seconds ticked off the clock Friday night, Harrison was all smiles and his performance from a week ago was forgotten.

Harrison rushed for 194 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries as Dora rolled past Central-Florence 43-21. The win puts Dora in the third-round of the Class 3A state playoffs. The Bulldogs (12-0) will travel to Litchfield (11-1) next week.

Harrison, a senior, never let up regardless of the score. If the ball was in his hands, he was going all out.

He admitted to being a little ticked off about last week's 60-yard performance against Susan Moore.

"I was fired up," said Harrison. "Last week I had a bad game. I felt I had to play better this time. Coach said that we had an opportunity this week. He said if we get the chance, take advantage of it. We did. These are the best times of my life."

In the game, Harrison scored on runs of 32, 9, 15 and 1 yards.

Whenever the Wildcats pulled within a touchdown, there was Harrison, bulldozing his way down the field.

"I got some great blocking. I couldn't have done it without the line," Harrison added.

Wright was also quick to credit the offensive line.

"The offensive line did a great job opening holes. Nate Corley was outstanding," Wright said.

Corley just hopes Dora run doesn't end here.

This season has been a complete turnaround from Corley's sophomore season when the Bulldogs went 0-10.

"I'm just glad to be here. We're going to take it one game at a time right now," said Corley. "I'm just thankful that Coach Wright and his staff are here. I mean 12-0, that's unbelievable."

Dora entered the game short a running back. Sophomore Chase Pierce, who had close to 1,000 yards on the season, was unable to play after breaking his arm.

Jason Rouse filled the void nicely, rushing for 154 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

"Rouse did a great job at fullback. We needed someone to step up and he did. We've had people fill in like that all year," Wright added.

After a scoreless first quarter, Dora took a 6-0 lead less than a minute into the second quarter when Jorge Williams hooked up with Randy Parker for an 18-yard touchdown.

Central countered nine minutes later when quarterback Nathan Russ snuck into the end zone from one yard out on third-and-goal. The extra point gave the Wildcats a 7-6 lead.

That's when Harrison got down to business.

On Dora's next possession, Harrison completed a three-play, 57-yard scoring drive with a 32-yard scamper into the end zone.

Dora took a 14-7 lead into halftime. The Bulldogs seemed in control early in the second half when Harrison went into the end zone from nine yards out to give Dora a 21-7 advantage, but Central-Florence (8-4) wasn't done yet.

The Wildcats pulled within six points when Nathan Russ hooked up with Shane Condrey for a 27-yard touchdown. Eric Moore threw to Chris Woods for a two-point conversion to cut the lead to six at 21-15.

That would be as close as the Wildcats would get.

Harrison added a 15-yard touchdown run with less than a minute remaining in the quarter. Central-Florence again pulled within a score. This time Otis Sistrunk hit Eric Moore for a 56-yard touchdown pass with 11:29 remaining in the game.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, their defense was no match for Dora's running attack.

Harrison put the game away with a one-yard run around left end on fourth down. Rouse set up the touchdown with an 11-yard first down run and a 20-yard run that gave Dora the ball at the Central-Florence 10-yard line.

The score put Dora ahead 36-21 with 7:34 remaining.

Dora put the icing on the win with 3:57 remaining when Rouse scored on a two-yard run.

The Bulldogs will need another big game from its running backs next week against Litchfield. The Eagles won 35-16 over Lauderdale County Friday night.

Wright says his team will be ready.

"I promise you one thing. We will be ready to play next week," he said.




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