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Dora gets revenge against Chelsea
JOHNATHAN BENTLEY
Eagle Sports Editor
Published October 08, 2005 3:34 AM CDT

DORA -- Johnny Wright had to make a choice Friday night.

It wasn't a tough one. With three game-breaking running backs to chose from, the Dora coach couldn't go wrong.

Eric Woods, Marquis Chapel and Justin Woods each scored touchdowns to break a third-quarter tie and Dora asserted itself as the region favorite yet again with a dominating 33-21 victory over previously unbeaten Chelsea.

"This is the biggest win we've had in a long time," said Wright, whose team is shooting for its fourth straight region championship. "It puts us in good shape in the region. I couldn't be happier. I'm going to enjoy this one right now."

The win left Dora as the only unbeaten team in 4A, Region 7 play. The Bulldogs have region games against Fayette County and Tarrant remaining on the schedule.

Each of Dora's three-man tag team rushed for 100 yards on the night, led by Eric Woods' 138 yards on 20 carries.

Chapel picked up 113 on 20 attempts and Justin Woods totaled 103 on just seven carries.

"Our three backs did what they are supposed to do. They ran hard in the second half. They were able to put us in the lead and keep us there," Wright said. "We wanted to run the ball. That's what we do. We've got three pretty good backs."

Dora got a bit of revenge with the victory.

Chelsea handed the Bulldogs their only regular season loss last season, beating Dora 47-14. In that game the Bulldogs were done in by eight turnovers.

Wright and company made sure that history wasn't going to repeat itself.

"Good things happened to us tonight. Last year it was a totally different situation," Wright said. "In the first half, I was just tickled to death not to have a lot of turnovers. I was so afraid of their turnover ratio. That's a big part of their game. We were able to hold on to the ball this time."

Dora had just one turnover, a fumble at the Chelsea one-yard line midway through the fourth quarter.

By that time the Bulldogs had the game in hand.

No. 8 Dora (6-1, 5-0) led 7-0 at the half, thanks to a Whit Wright 15-yard run in the first quarter, but Chelsea notched the score at 7-all five minutes into the third quarter after a 7-yard touchdown run by quarterback Coty McLaughlin.

No need to worry, Wright turned to his backfield for retaliation.

Eric Woods gave Dora great field position with a 35-yard return on the kickoff, putting the Bulldogs in business at the Dora 41-yard line.

Six plays later, Dora was knocking at the door. Eric Woods put the Bulldogs on top for good with a 7-yard run and a 13-7 lead.

After Dora's defense forced a three-and-out, Dora struck again. Eric Woods and Justin Woods each had long runs and Wright hit Chapel for a 12-yard gain to give Dora first-and-goal.

Chapel finished off the drive with a two-yard run as Dora took a 19-7 advantage.

Justin Woods didn't waste any time on Dora's next possession, taking the ball up the middle and through a pack of defenders for a 47-yard run as Dora pushed its lead to 26-7 with 10:14 remaining.

Chelsea drove 70 yards on its ensuing possession to cut the gap to 26-14 with 6:34 left.

The Hornets got a shot of adrenaline a few minutes later when the Bulldogs fumbled the ball away at the Chelsea one-yard line.

The adrenaline didn't last.

Two plays later, Dora's Lavertis Townes intercepted a pass at the 15-yard line and took it the distance for a touchdown that iced the victory.

No. 7 Chelsea added its final touchdown with four seconds remaining on a 16-yard pass from McLaughlin to Justin Snider.

The Hornets (6-1, 4-1) had trouble moving the ball after playmaker Davin Palmer went down with cramps in the third quarter. Palmer, the son of former Alabama standout David Palmer, rushed eight times for 69 yards before his injury.

As a team, Dora rushed for 382 yards on 50 attempts.

Quarterback Whit Wright completed 2-of-6 passes for 22 yards.

Defensively, Dora's Ladarius Johnson kept the heat on Chelsea's quarterback, sacking McLaughlin twice for a loss of 17 yards.

Wright's Dora squad will play at Fayette County next week, but right now, he's going to enjoy Friday's win over Chelsea.

"This is a great win for this program. A lot of people didn't have faith in us. We stepped it up like you're supposed to and we beat a great football team. We've got two tough ones left. Fayette will put it in the air 40 times and Tarrant's going to pound you with athletes. It won't be easy."

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