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Mistakes cost Dora in loss to Tarrant
DORA -- Dora entered Friday night with a chance to claim its third straight region championship with a little help from tie breakers.
Unfortunately, a hungry Tarrant squad had a different script prepared and escaped Dora with a 24-20 victory after capitalizing on five Dora turnovers and a barrage of big plays against the Bulldogs' defense.
Dora's (6-3, 5-2) loss, coincided with Chelsea and Fayette County victories, dropped the Bulldogs down to the fourth and final spot in Region 5.
"We're just not accountable for our actions. We talked to them all week about being accountable for what you are supposed to do and we didn't do it," said head coach Johnny Wright. "I thought we played as poor as we could on defense and we gave them big plays on everything we had worked on in practice."
While Tarrant (6-3, 5-2) had its share of long plays, Dora had two chances in the fourth quarter to reclaim the lead.
After driving to the Tarrant 29-yard line, the Bulldogs faced fourth-and-12 and it resulted in Landon Hayes throwing a interception on a reverse pass.
Dora forced Tarrant to punt after three plays and the Bulldogs' retained possession again at the Wildcats 44-yard line with 1:43 left. Dora converted two first downs and on the ninth play of the drive quarterback Whit Wright threw an interception on a third-and-eight rollout pass with 21 seconds remaining.
It was Wright's second interception of the game and the Bulldogs' fourth.
The final region contest of the season wasn't a classic for the defensive minded. Dora compiled 424 total offensive yards and Tarrant tallied 265 total yards.
Running the ball wasn't a problem for either team. Marquis Chapel rushed 26 times for 197 yards and two touchdowns. Eric Woods rushed for 137 yards on 19 carries and Justin Woods added 74 rushing yards on 13 carries.
For Tarrant, Mario Addison had 122 rushing yards on 13 carries and a touchdown and Marquis Maze added 58 yards and two interceptions.
At the outset of the game, Dora struggled to maintain any momentum.
Both teams traded possessions before Tarrant dented the scoreboard first on an Addison 71-yard sweep around the left end. The Wildcats started the drive on the 3-yard line and needed only six plays to score after Addison runs of 18, 22 and 71 yards.
Tarrant converted on its 2-point conversion to make it 8-0 and as minuscule as the conversions seemed at the time, they proved to be a huge difference in the game.
"What gets me is that the final score comes down to all those 2-point conversions and we are supposed to stop them," Wright said. "We had people in position to make those plays and didn't make them which goes back to accountability."
Dora answered with a touchdown in the second quarter on a 2-yard plunge by Eric Woods to make it 8-6 to cap off a 9-play, 70-yard drive.
Tarrant scored its next touchdown off an Eric Woods turnover.
Tarrant quarterback Nick Garrett hit Maze for a 32-yard touchdown to make it 16-6, which was the score at the half.
The third quarter and early minutes of the fourth belonged to Dora after the Bulldogs scored touchdowns on consecutive possessions that both ended with touchdowns from Chapel.
The first drive ate up the first 7:54 of the third quarter and Chapel's 8-yard score capped off a 13-play, 65-yard drive.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, Chapel scored on a 34-yard touchdown to make it 20-16.
As quickly as Dora took control, Tarrant answered back respectively with the eventual winning touchdown.
And it was frustrating for the Dora defense as Garrett found a wide open Damarcus Palmer all alone in the Bulldogs secondary for a 35-yard touchdown pass after the Wildcats faced a third-and-11 situation.
Both teams combined to attempt only 18 passes, but Garrett's passes were efficient.
He finished 3-of-4 for 85 yards and two of those went for touchdowns.
Two weeks ago it seemed Dora was a virtual lock to clinch its third consecutive region title under Wright, but a couple of teams with different agendas changed those plans.
"I don't know what's happened to us. We're not playing the way we should be playing. Offensively we handcuffed ourselves with penalties and again accountability on blocks," Wright said. "Defensively we couldn't stop anything."
Dora will wrap up the regular season next week as it hosts a successful Mortimer Jordan team.
"We'll just have to regroup for next week because we face a good Mortimer Jordan team," Wright said. "It looks like we are going to be the No. 4 team and we put ourselves in that position."
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