On the night of Friday the 13th in Williston, Florida, the Williston Red Devils hosted the Dixie County Bears in a non-conference high school football match up. While the Red Devils came into the game with a record of 0-2, the Bears entered the contest with an impressive 3-0 record. The Bears confidence, however, was quickly diminished following the Red Devils’ opening kickoff return for a touchdown. It was an impressive return by Lamonte Terrell, who weaved through several defenders en route to the end zone. The touchdown was followed by a successful two point attempt, which gave Williston an 8-0 point lead right out of the gate. Upon regaining possession, Williston turned it back over to the Bears when they fumbled in the red zone.
Dixie County drove the ball down to the red zone, but their opportunity was stopped by a turnover on downs. On the next drive, the Bears defense forced a three and out thanks to a sack that backed Williston deep into their own territory. After a short punt, the Bears’ offense with set up with great field position inside the Williston 30 yard line. Dixie County capitalized on the short field, and Fitzgerald Warren ran it in for the score. The Bears converted their two point attempt to tie the game up at 8-8. With under five seconds remaining in the first quarter, senior Rhett Munden gave the Red Devils the lead back courtesy of his 61 yard rushing touchdown. Terrell’s two point conversion run gave Williston a 16-8 lead at the end of one.
The Bears quickly answered to begin the second quarter. Quarterback Sam Cannon threw a 55 yard touchdown pass to receiver Brenden Hall, who beat the defender with his speed on a go route down the sideline, and Cannon placed the ball perfectly into his hands. Despite an impressive touchdown, Dixie County failed its two point attempt, keeping Williston up 16-14. On the following drive, the Bears defense caused havoc and recovered a fumble. The Bears then marched down the field via several chunk plays. Their drive came to a halt, however, when Cannon was sacked on third down by Shawn Perkins.
With a few minutes left in the half, Williston looked to extend their lead knowing the Bears would receive the ball in the second half. When the Red Devils faced fourth down and short on their own 30 yard line, head coach Ric Whittington decided to roll the dice and go for it. The Bears defense stuffed Williston at the line of scrimmage, causing a turnover on downs. With under a minute remaining in the half, Dixie County was unable to get any offense going and turned the ball back over on downs.
Dixie County opened up the second half hot. The Bears’ fourth down conversion in the red zone kept their drive alive. The near six minute drive was capped off by a five yard rushing touchdown by Fitzgerald Warren. Warren’s second touchdown of the game was followed by a successful two point attempt. This gave Dixie County a 22-16 lead. Williston responded well, driving the length of the field for a touchdown of their own. Running back Jacurtis Pitts ran it in from 15 yards out to tie the game at 22 a piece. The Red Devils unsuccessful two point attempt kept the game all square. Another Shawn Perkins sack would force a quick three and out for the Bears.
The fourth quarter opened up with two consecutive turnovers on downs. With four minutes left in the game, Dixie County got things going on the first play of their drive. Paras Clines caught a screen pass and took it 45 yards for a touchdown. The Bears failed two point conversion left them with just a six point lead.
Following the score, a bizarre series of events took place. The Bears immediately got the ball back after recovering what appeared to be an unintentional onside kick. Seeming to be the nail in the coffin for Williston, the Bears coughed the ball up on the subsequent play. Williston recovered the ball and had one last chance to score. The game came down to the last play and set up an exciting finish. With 0.1 seconds to go, the Red Devils faced fourth down on the Dixie County 27 yard line. A pass was incomplete, and Dixie County survived with a 28-22 victory.
With a loss, Williston drops to 0-3 on the season. They will get ready to face Hamilton County next Friday in Jasper, Florida. With a win, Dixie County remains undefeated and improves to 4-0 on the season. The Bears will prepare for a showdown against their rival, Chiefland, next Friday.