A primetime matchup in running backs pitted Pepperell sophomore DJ Rogers against Chattooga junior Lashaun Lester, with Pepperell in a position to lock up Region 7-AA’s No. 2 seed with a W.
On Friday under a clear sky in Lindale, the home side would emerge victorious as the Pepperell Dragons bested the Chattooga Indians 28-13. The victory sees Pepperell assure itself of at least one more time between the sticks at Dragon Stadium, securing the second seed from Region 7-AA with a final record of 4-1.
“I felt like we played extremely well in spurts,” Dragons head coach Rick Hurst said. “We were able to finish (Chattooga) off in the end. The kids were excited. We just know we’ve got a shot to be back in front of the crowd again.”
Rogers rushed for the first two Dragon touchdowns, each one a 76-yard dash. The sophomore tailback once again proved he’s a tough customer to face.
Pepperell quarterback Matthew Waddell called his own number and carried beyond the goal line from 3 yards out as the lead went to 21-0 in favor of the Dragons.
The Indians responded with two touchdowns to cut the Dragon edge to eight points at 21-13, but a fourth-quarter score from Rogers put the game out of reach.
“That was huge, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Hurst said. “We’ve still got guys that are starters now who are young and they still don’t have the confidence in themselves that they need to for us to be a really good offensive team and that’s what happens when you’re youthful. We’re trying to nurture them along and hopefully they’ll continue to mature.”
Prior to the game, Hurst said several of Pepperell’s seniors spoke to the team about what it meant to represent the school and wear the “P” on the jersey.
“I think that was a lot of motivation for our kids,” Hurst said. “Anytime you can attain a goal you set back in June when we first started and know that we were going to get to play, and being through the adversity we’ve been through with the injuries and everything, it’s pretty special. I think the motivation was to come back here in two weeks and we get the chance to do that.”
Next Friday, the Dragons were originally supposed to close the 2020 regular season at Coosa. Due to a Coosa football team quarantine, that game was canceled, but Hurst said he was “99% sure” Pepperell will have an opponent on Nov. 20.
Hurst said a formal announcement with opponent is forthcoming.
“We’re about 99% sure it’s going to take place,” Hurst said. “It will be on the road, I can tell you that.”