SMITHS STATION, Ala. -- For the first 43 minutes of Friday night's home game against Dothan, Smiths Station's up-tempo offense looked nothing like it did last week in head coach Jason Dukes' debut with the Panthers.
But, with five minutes remaining, quarterback Dalton Sinquefield rallied from four early interceptions -- with some help from his defense and special teams -- to give the hosts a 27-24 comeback win to remember.
Down by two touchdowns with just over six minutes left in the game, the Panthers' special teams partially blocked a punt that led to Sinquefield's first touchdown pass of the night, a 14-yarder to Marquis Bowens.
After forcing a turnover of its own on what would have been a game-ending drive for Dothan, Sinquefield led what had been a cold Panthers offense on a dramatic 78-yard touchdown drive, ending with a pass to Austin Taylor in the back of the end zone with just seconds left on the clock.
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While Dothan settled for a field goal in the first overtime period, Sinquefield scrambled on third down to put his team just outside the goal line.
Then, with the game on the line, the Smiths Station quarterback surprisingly handed the ball to star linebacker Amonte Cabon, who went over the top for the game-winning touchdown.
The Panthers' dream finish looked like a nightmare for most of the evening thanks to five turnovers in the opening three quarters.
Sinquefield's rough first half started with the game's first drive. After leading the Panthers' fast-paced offense to the Dothan 30-yard line, the junior quarterback tried to throw a halfback screen off his back foot, but the visiting Tigers intercepted the underthrown pass.
After getting the ball back on a quick Dothan punt, Sinquefield threw another interception -- this one coming inside his own territory.
Dothan's Edward Jones recovered a fumble on a bad snap on the next Smiths Station drive, and running back Isaiah Long punched it in from five yards out for the game's first score.
Smith Station pulled Sinquefield for sophomore quarterback Tyler Jefferson on the ensuing drive, but the move did not do anything to end the Panthers' offensive woes as Jefferson fumbled the ball back to Dothan with just seconds left in the opening frame.
The two defenses shone for the majority of the second quarter as the offenses exchanged punts.
The Panthers moved back into the Tigers' territory and looked to be gaining momentum late in the half, but a relentless blitz on Sinquefield turned into a short-armed interception in the backfield and a 68-yard defensive touchdown for Sims.
Smiths Station went to the locker room down 14-0, but the defense provided the Panthers with their first points right out of the locker room.
On the third play of the quarter, Marshall's pass was intercepted by Jefferson and returned for a 20-yard touchdown.
The Smith Station defense forced another Dothan three-and-out, but the offense stalled in opposing territory on the next drive. Sinquefield was sacked on fourth down at the Dothan 35, ending any hope of a quick equalizer for the Panthers.
The two sides struggled to get any offensive momentum going for the rest of the quarter, which was capped by Sinquefield's fourth interception of the game.
Dothan opened the fourth with an important scoring drive that featured a fourth-down conversion and a 1-yard touchdown by Marshall.
Smiths Station failed to move the ball on the ensuing drive.
, but a punt inside the Dothan 10-yard line gave the hosts life. The Panthers partially blocked a Dothan punt that only traveled to the 14-yard line, and Sinquefield found Bowens over the middle for a hard-nosed touchdown pass a few plays later.
Long appeared to be putting the game out of reach on the following drive with several big runs, but teammate Tyson Carter fumbled the ball after a catch near the Smiths Station red zone.
Sinquefield then orchestrated a long, game-tying drive with a fourth-down conversion and a 13-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Taylor.
The Panthers' defense forced a Dothan field goal in the first overtime period, and Caban soared over the goal line four plays later for the victory.
Friday at Smiths Station
Dothan 7 7 0 7 3--24
Smiths Station 0 0 7 14 6---- 27
DHS: Isaiah Long 5 run (Evan Hogan kick), 1:55
DHS: JarMarkus Sims 68 interception return (Hogan kick), 3:04
SSHS: Tyler Jefferson 20 interception return (Harris Jones kick), 10:56
DHS: Tyler Marshall 1 run (Hogan kick), 9:13
SSHS: Marquis Bowens 14 pass from Dalton Sinquefield (Jones kick), 4:56
SSHS: Austin Taylor 13 pass from Sinquefield (Jones kick), 0:20
DHS: Jones 23 kick
SSHS: Amonte Caban 1 run
Records: Dothan 0-1. Smiths Station 2-0. Next: Smiths Station, Friday at R.E. Lee, 8 p.m.