CROCKETT — Break out the Members Only jackets and the parachute pants, it was Flashback Friday for Dawson as the Bulldogs went old school back to the 1980’s, winning a football game with a smash-mouth running game and a relentless, punishing defense.
The Bulldogs dominated the Evadale Rebels on both sides of the football, cruising to a 42-2 bi-district victory at Monte Jack Driskell Stadium in Crockett. The win was the first playoff victory for Dawson in more than nine years, since a 62-12 win over Ranger on November 11, 2010.
The 9-2 Bulldogs will face the 9-1 Mount Enterprise Wildcats in the Area round of the playoffs at 7 p.m. Thursday at Palestine Westwood.
The Wildcats beat Era 44-0 Friday night to advance to play the Bulldogs.
Dawson, led by a combined 240 yards and three touchdowns by Da’Mariyea and Ja’Mariyea Hamilton, amassed 20 first downs and 386 yards on the ground while holding the Rebels out of the endzone the entire game.
Evadale’s only points came on a defensive return by Bryce Tousha of a blocked extra-point attempt after Dawson’s final touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
That was the only blemish on what was otherwise a dominating night for Dawson.
It did not take the Bulldogs long to establish their superiority on the ground.
After stopping Evadale on the first possession of the game, Dawson was pinned back on its own two-yard line after a favorable roll for the Rebels on the punt.
Just like last week’s win over Wortham, Dawson moved the length of the field in 11 plays, with all 98 yards on the ground, to score the game’s initial touchdown on a seven-yard Jakoby Moore run with 5:49 remaining in the first quarter.
Moore would add the two-point conversion to give Dawson an 8-0 lead.
After Dawson’s James Drake stopped Evadale’s Chase Smith on fourth down, the Bulldogs wasted no time in scoring their second touchdown of the first quarter.
Moore ripped off a 54-yard run, speeding past the Evadale defense, for his second touchdown of the game. The two-point conversion was added on a Brendan Horner run and the Bulldogs lead at the end of the first quarter, 16-0.
Moore would join the Hamilton brothers with a monster night, rushing for 93 yards on just eight carries.
“The offensive line was the key,” said Dawson head coach Ronnie Striplin of his team’s offensive onslaught.
Striplin credits linemen Josh Encinia, Cameron Spain, Levi Elkins, Seth Springer, Justin Winchester, and tight end Bodey Martinez with opening massive holes that many times kept the Bulldog running backs untouched until will past the line of scrimmage.
Dawson would score its third touchdown of the first half on a two-yard run by Horner after the Bulldog defense stopped the Rebels near midfield and forced a turnover on downs.
After a personal foul penalty moved the ball into Rebel territory, a 34-yard run by Da’Mariyea Hamilton would set up the Horner run with just less than four minutes remaining in the half.
Horner increased the lead to 24-0 on the two-point conversion.
After recovering an onside kick, the Bulldogs tried to add another score before the half but were stymied by an interception by Tousha in the end zone with just 1:40 left in the half.
Evadale would mount its best drive of the night, quickly moving the ball down the field in an attempt to get back in to the ball game getting to the Dawson seven-yard line with just 10 seconds remaining.
Despite being able to run three plays in those 10 seconds, the Bulldog defense again denied the Rebels a chance to score as time ran out in the half.
The second half proved to be about the Dawson defense and three touchdowns by Da’Mariyea Hamilton.
The Bulldog defense smothered Evadale in the second half, holding the Rebels to only 89 yards of offense while forcing two interceptions.
On offense, Da’Mariyea Hamilton capped off a game-high 145 yards rushing with three second half touchdowns to end any hope of a Rebel comeback.
His first touchdown of the third quarter came on a 27-yard run midway through the quarter. The touchdown was set up by a Martinez interception and 18-yard return of a Klay Sylvester pass.
The defense would set up another short touchdown drive, forcing a turnover on downs deep inside Evadale territory.
It would take Da’Mariyea Hamilton one play to score his second touchdown late in the third quarter.
In a familiar refrain, the Bulldog defense would set up another touchdown when Martinez picked-off his second pass of the night, giving the Bulldogs the ball at the Evadale 15-yardline.
Da’Mariyea Hamilton would score in just one play again, scoring from 15 yards out with exactly 10 minutes remaining in the game, to push the lead to 42-0.
On the ensuing extra-point attempt, Tousha would return the block for Evadale’s only points of the night.
The Dawson defense would come up big once again, stopping the Rebels four times inside the five-yard line with just over four minutes remaining.
Evadale would never get the ball back.
“The defense did a really good job corralling them in all night,” said Striplin.
Dawson was able to move down the field and run out the clock behind the running of Ja’Mariyea Hamilton, who’s 34-yard run would move the Bulldogs inside the Rebel 10-yard line.
Ja’Mariyea Hamilton would finish the night with 95 yards rushing.
Horner would successfully execute three kneel downs as the clock ran out and the Bulldogs moved on to the second round.
There, the 9-2 Bulldogs will face the 9-1 Mount Enterprise Wildcats in the area round of the playoffs at a date and site to be determined. The Wildcats beat Era 44-0 Friday night to advance to play the Bulldogs.