ROME — The Pepperell Dragons went on the road and earned a physical, hard-fought 14-7 win over the Model Blue Devils on Friday night. The win evened both teams’ overall records at 4-4, but Pepperell now has the inside track on the No. 2 seed in Region 7-AA with a 3-1 region mark, while Model is 2-2.
Both teams exchanged punts on their opening drives, but Model was pinned deep in their own territory and had to punt it away from their own 5-yard line. The Dragons returned the kick to the 26-yard line and proceeded to go on a 4-play scoring drive, finishing with an 11-yard touchdown run by DJ Rogers. The PAT by Will Helton made it 7-0 late in the first quarter.
Model had to punt again on its next series, this time from its own 18, but Pepperell broke through and blocked it. Trey Forcier recovered for the Dragons inside the 10-yard line, and Rogers struck again two plays later, barreling into the end zone from 7 yards out. Helton’s PAT gave Pepperell a 14-0 lead which it took into the halftime break.
The Blue Devils defense kept them in the game throughout the second half, and Model finally got onto the scoreboard with 6:46 left in the game. Pepperell punted from its own 9-yard line and Model’s Richmond Sims fielded it and sprinted through the defense for a 40-yard touchdown return. The extra point by Jonathan Ogle made it 14-7 and the Blue Devils had some life.
But Model couldn’t move the ball when they got it back with 5:37 remaining, and their last-gasp effort on fourth down was intercepted. Pepperell then ran the last five minutes off the clock on a 9-play drive to seal the win.
The victory was Pepperell’s fifth straight in the series against Model. The Dragons will be home to host Chattooga next Friday, while Model will host the same Chattooga team on Tuesday, Nov. 17.