In what looked like it would be a back-and-forth game going into the half, UMS-Wright ended up routing Oneonta 42-14. The turning point was when the Bulldogs were up just 21-14 late in the second quarter, when a senior defender forced a fumble that rolled into the end zone to preserve the lead. It was a 21-0 run to close the game from there on out en route to the class 4A crown.
Here are the players that impressed with their play on the afternoon.
2014 QB Gunner Roach (6-foot-2, 188 lbs) – It wasn't just his gaudy efficiency numbers that impressed; it was how he showed resilience. A few early throws got away from the junior and never showed a lack of confidence going forward. Even when he received a mega-hit from a defender, which caused him to stay down for some time, Roach returned to the field of play after two plays to shake it off. As a passer, he took what the defense gave him and didn't rush any plays. Roach showed touch on one score and flashed quick-strike potential while methodically moving the chains. He finished the afternoon completing nine of 13 pass attempts for 171 yards and the score.
2013 DB Sam Pettway (6-foot-1, 187 lbs) – Whether it was running hip-to-hip with wideouts down the field or coming up and laying the lumber, Pettway did his job. He may have made the play of the day for his team unintentionally as he knocked Jalen Johnson out of the game late in the first-half with a big-time hit up the seam. He got his hands on one pass he nearly intercepted and paced the Bulldogs with 11 tackles.
2015 RB Troy Dixon (5-foot-8, 181 lbs) – Not very big, but Dixon is a problem when the smallest of creases is created by his offensive line. He has top-notch burst to break away and he can sustain long runs with his third-gear as evidenced on a trio of 50-plus yard touchdown runs. The first showed great vision, the second was all about explosion and speed while the third was pure top-speed for 74 yards. The speedy sophomore ended up with 232 yards and three scores on 23 carries.
2013 WR T.J. Dixon (5-foot-11, 170 lbs) – With great routes and rapport with his quarterback, Dixon was a consistent threat when the Bulldogs elected to go to the air. He hauled in the prettiest pass of the day over his shoulder on a third-and-32 play that ended up as six points. It was the result of a double-move (post-corner) that Roach had to float over the top of the defender. Dixon was called the best wideout Head Coach Terry Curtis has ever coached, by the long-time coach himself. The senior finished with five catches for 86 yards and a score.
2013 WR/DB Alvin Scott (6-foot-1, 180 lbs) – While trying to slow speedy WRs as a cornerback, Scott was giving the Bulldog DBs a headache. Scott hauled in a class 4A title game record 11 passes, totaling 123 yards. He was exceptional after the catch, both making defenders miss and using power to get by them on separate occasions.
2013 QB Cody O'Toole (5-foot-11, 175 lbs) – Often with his back against the ball against UMS-Wright's pressure, the senior did all he could to keep the Redskins in it. He suffered through several sacks and a big hit that nearly knocked him out for good in the second half. Still, O'Toole persevered and connected on 22 of 31 pass attempts while adding 50 yards on the ground. He did throw a pair of costly interceptions in the loss.
2014 DB/WR Jalen Johnson (6-foot-3, 195 lbs) – Despite missing the entire second half with an injury, Johnson flashed his potential in the first two quarters with 43 yards as a receiver and four tackles on the other side of the ball. He nearly knocked Roach out for the game with a great stop in the second quarter, in which he tracked the QB across the field before making the play. He's one to watch for next year's senior class.