SHEPHERDSVILLE - Completely controlling the kicking game, the kick-off part of the kicking game, the Pleasant Grove Dolphins were able to dominate the ‘B’ Division Championship Game on Saturday, rolling past the Maryville Patriots 33-13.
The victory capped a perfect season for coach Steve Cooper’s team as they went 11-0 within the Greater Bullitt County Youth Football League. The team also won two games in the River City Classic, giving them a perfect 13-0 season.
“It will be a good night tonight,” Cooper said after his players and coaches received their championship trophies.
“We made a lot of big special team plays today,” the coach added. “That was what we wanted to do. It kept the ball out of their hands. We knew they were a very good team and wanted to keep their offense off the field.”
The Dolphins did that to perfection. In fact, Maryville ran just three plays and had to punt while Pleasant Grove was scoring the first three touchdowns of the game.
“It really hurt with the two on-sides kicks they got and then the one they scored on,” Maryville head coach Allen Downing said. “You can’t make mistakes like that against a good team. They have a very good team.”
Maryville finished the season with an 8-3 mark, also losing to Overdale in addition to the two losses Pleasant Grove.
“I knew we had a good team,” Downing said of when the season began. “I thought it was us Pleasant Grove and Overdale when we started. It played out that way.”
Pleasant Grove scored so fast in the first half, that it was 27-0 by halftime. When the Dolphins returned the opening kick-off of the second half 60 yards for a score, it was 33-0 and a running clock was used for the rest of the contest.
Pleasant Grove had defeated Maryville 23-0 during the regular season, but knew that the Patriots had a lot of speed.
That is why the Dolphins opted to start the game with an on-sides kick. The ball hit one of the Maryville up players and Pleasant Grove recovered near midfield.
It took just four plays to get to the endzone. Three running plays gained no yardage, but Cooper opted to try a pass on fourth down. Quarterback Zack Allen stepped back and threw to Pierce Kelly 15 yards down the field. A Maryville defender tipped the ball first, but Kelly hauled in the pass and then turned and raced all the way to the endzone.
Pleasant Grove added a two-point conversion when Allen passed to Rhett Troutman to make it 8-0.
Maryville did get the ball on the next kick-off, but then had to punt without a first down.
Starting at its own 40-yard line, Pleasant Grove needed just one play to score. Running back Austin Colvin took the hand-off, but then fumbled. He picked the ball up, and reversed his field, darting through the Maryville defense for a 60-yard score.
Troutman added on the extra point.
Pleasant Grove then opted for a short kick than hit the ground and in the made scramble for the ball, the Dolphins recovered at midfield. This time it was a long, clock-consuming drive before Allen scored o0n a 4-yard run around the left side midway through the second quarter.
Maryville managed to gain a pair of first downs when they finally got the ball back, but that drive ended when Colvin picked off a pass and returned it 20 yards to his team’s 45-yard line. With less than 50 seconds remaining in the half, Pleasant Grove didn’t wasn’t any time, giving the ball to Colvin who after faking a reverse, kept the ball and ran 55 yards for a touchdown.
That made it 27-0 at halftime.
It could have been worse at halftime as Allen intercepted a pass on the final play of the half and returned it 40 yards before being pushed out of bounds at the 20-yard line.
To start the second half, Maryville tried to turn the tables by kicking on-sides to the Dolphins. It didn’t work. The ball hopped right up in the hands of Kelly who immediately ran right and motored all the way around the kicking team, going 60 yards to the endzone for the touchdown.
“I knew we had a lot returning from last year,” Cooper said when asked if he expected to get to the championship game. “We had a lot of talented players. We had lost some lineman and quarter. We got those positions filled pretty quickly.”
Maryville did not score until the fourth quarter.
The first touchdown came on a 7-yard pass from Foster Grant to Dalton Casey. After a fumble by Pleasant Grove, Maryville got fancy with a halfback pass from Josh Exton to Dalton Walls for a 19-yard touchdown. Casey ran in the extra point to account for the final score.
Downing knew at halftime that his team could not come back because of the running clock that happens when a team trails by more than 24 points in the second half.
“We just told them at half to play with pride,” the Maryville coach said. “It’s hard to do much with the running clock. You can’t take anything away from Pleasant Grove. They are very good.”
Pleasant Grove was led on the ground by Colvin who rushed for 124 yards. The team also got 13 yards on the ground from Troutman. Kelly had 50 yards receiving on passes from Allen who completed four passes for 90 yards. Troutman had pass receptions for 26 yards while Janzen Sivori caught a pass for 14 yards.
On defense, the Dolphins got five tackles from Robert Hartley and four stops each from Troutman and Colvin. Three tackles were made by Trent Blakely, Chad Caldwell and Allen.
Casey was the leading rusher for the Patriots with 37 yards while Exton rushed for 27 yards. The offense also got 19 yards on the ground from Walls and nine yards from Grant.
Exton led Maryville with seven tackles while Casey had six stops. Four tackles were made by both Walls and Wyatt Blevins.
Team members for the Pleasant Grove Dolphins this season were Luke Hutchins, Justin Parsons, Alex Elkins, Kain Loudenslager, Janzen Sivori, Pierce Kelly, Trent Blakely, Chad Caldwell, Robert Hartley, Austin Dattilo, Nick Cooper, Zack Allen, Cole Stump, Sonny Foreman, Dakota Haney, Rhett Troutman, Takeim Cox, Austin Colvin, Branden Fiereisel, Jeremiah Johnson, Cole Green, Gavin Brown, Spencer Warren, Tyler Williams, Zack Hopper, Justin Hardin and Hunter Simmons.
The head coach for the Dolphins was Steve Cooper. He was assisted by Shannon Hopper, Tim Allen and Troy Blakely.
The team members for the Maryville Patriots included Wyatt Blevins, Dalton Casey, Dillion Deindierfer, Casey Druin, Josh Exton, Jake Frantz, Foster Grant, Austin Gravel, Darren Harper, Trenton Hill, Jacob Hoben, Zach Hutchins, Justin Jaco, Dakota Johnson, Dominic Lay, Timmy Miller, Chase Morrison, Conner Noonan, Bradley Peyton, Evan Price, Eric Rodgers, Dalton Taylor, Trevor Schultz and Dalton Walls.
Allen Downing was the Patriots head coach. He was assisted by Tony Bettinger, Kelly Noonan, Eddie Blevins, Ricky Grant and Curtis McCubbins.