KEYSTONE HEIGHTS - Utilizing the “Four Horsmen” plus one backfield lineup, the Keystone Heights High football team barreled to a 50-0 region 1-4A playoff win over a much-improved Umatilla High …
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS - Utilizing the “Four Horsmen” plus one backfield lineup, the Keystone Heights High football team barreled to a 50-0 region 1-4A playoff win over a much-improved Umatilla High team to, first, win the first ever playoff game for 23 year coach Chuck Dickinson and his long-time assistant Lantz Lowery, and, second, advance to the region semifinals to face off against an unbeaten Villages Charter team on Friday.
“I would take the Gatorade bath in a heartbeat, but they got to coach Dickinson first,” said Lowery, who coordinates the defensive effort for the Indians while being the state champion boys weightlifting coach that rosters most of the Indian
football players. “It’s been a long time coming.”
For Dickinson, who nimbly avoided most of the ice shower with some fancy footwork, one team has been the main culprit of his playoff bad luck.
“We used to get Bolles alot in our first game over the years, so this was a well-deserved win for the seniors,” said Dickinson. “We have to focus on a very good Villages team first before thinking of the next guys which could also be Cocoa, one of the nation’s top program and South Sumter. It doesn’t get easier for sure.”
In the 4A state bracket, Keystone Heights (9-1, 20th in 4A) will travel to The Villages (10-0, 6th in 4A), who advanced on a BYE as the second seed, while Cocoa (8-1, top ranked in 4A), the top seed will host South Sumter (7-4, 19th in 4A), the fourth seed. South Sumter beat Hernando 48-14 in their region opener.
Bolles (6-2, 4th in 4A) in region 1-4A, advanced with a BYE and will host Gadsden County (3-6, 8th in 4A), a 16-14 winner over Andrew Jackson. In the opposite semifinal in region 1-4A, fourth-seed Baldwin (7-3), a 28-14 winner over Marianna, will travel to South Walton Beach (9-1, 10th in 4A), the top seed.
The Villages are led by senior quarterback Brandon Kennard (No. 3) with 1392 pass yards and 19 touchdowns with just one interception. The run game is led by senior Ed Williams (No. 26) with 1182 yards in eight games 13 touchdowns. Top receiver is sophomore Q Kennedy (No. 1) with 25 catches and four touchdowns. Senior Tyler Wonus (No. 10) has six touchdown catches on just 12 passes.
Against Umatilla, Keystone Heights opened the game by recovering a blooper kick on the opening kickoff from Jerremy Miller to put the vaunted Indians offense at the Umatilla 32. A three yard run from Tyler Jenkins, who took first carry 11 yards, got the Indians quickly on the scoreboard with Dalton Hollingsworth barreling for two; 8-0.
Jenkins was top rusher for the Indians with 145 yards on 14 carries. Logan Williams had 96 yards; one a 43 yard scoring run, with Kade Sanders finishing with 91 yards.
Keystone Heights defense, with defensive end Caleb Moncrief creating messes in the backfield got the offense back on the field with a fourth down stop at midfield, but Keystone Heights’ running back Kade Sanders got stripped on his first carry to give Umatilla the ball right back.
“We had six fumbles in the last two weeks with just one for the entire nine game season,” said Dickinson. “We can’t do that next week and further against the teams we will be playing.”
After a defensive stand, Umatilla punted to Hollingsworth who caught the ball on the run near the Indian 30 and sprinted past two tacklers to the end zone before a penalty flag emerged to bring the effort back.
Keystone Heights regrouped with Jenkins, going hurdle-mode on one tackler, blasting to the Umatilla 45 before Sanders went behind tackle Mason Dicks to rip a run through three tackles before stepping out of bounds at the eight yard line. Logan Williams would scamper for the score with Sanders not making the two-point plunge; 14-0 at 4:24 in the first quarter.
Dickinson concurred that his x-trap play with quarterback Connor Guy faking a dive one way to two crossing backs and handing off to the second back on the cross, was a play that showed good success against Umatilla.
“We have that in our package and teams know what we do; come right at you,” said Dickinson. “With that fake and handoff, the defense has to guess who has the ball with Connor’s back to the line of scrimmage. It gives the defense a little hesitation off the snap to just crash the line on our off-tackle plays.”
After a couple stops at midfield, Jenkins ripped down the Keystone Heights sideline from 50 yards out for a score to end the first quarter at 20-0. The two point attempt failed.
“We can’t leave those two point conversions off the scoreboard if we get into close games,” said Dickinson. “We won’t be able to give up four, six points against the next bunch of teams.”
Up 20-0, Keystone Heights ate some clock with a long drive that started at their own 28 and ended with Sanders rifling in for a score to 26-0 at 5:28 to the half. Sanders added the two pointer; 28-0.
Sanders rolled in on the next series to put Keystone Heights up 34-0 a minute before halftime.
Moncrief would capture a 15 yard sack to end Umatilla’s effort to score to force a fourth down punt, but Umatilla, calling two times in the final eight seconds, executed a fake punt to gain a first down at midfield.
In the third quarter, the fourth of the Four Horsemen; senior Logan Williams, scampered 46 yards to paydirt to put the Indians up 40-0. Guy hit Moncrief with the two point pass; 42-0 with 10 minutes left in the third.
Jackson Williams, the newest Horseman, scored on a three yard rush to end the game; 50-0 with Jerremy Miller carrying in the two-pointer.
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