Smiths Station built an early 13-2 lead and then got a special teams play to hold on for a 20-9 win over Dothan on Friday night.
Key play: With their starting quarterback out and the offense sputtering, Smiths Station turned to its special teams for a big play. Up 13-2, a 30-yard punt return by Jared Elias secured the Panther’s first win of the season. The senior showed his speed and quickness, running up the far sideline before juking out a couple of Dothan players to clear a path to the end zone.
Difference Makers: Jared Elias, Smiths Station, punt returner — Elias sparked the Panthers in a flash. Needing a big play, Elias made the difference racing down the sideline for a much needed touchdown.
Tyson Tolliver, Smiths Station, wide receiver — Tolliver was the go-to target in the passing game for Smiths Station. The senior caught three passes for 34 yards, including the Panthers lone offensive touchdown. On the scoring play, Tolliver used his size to box out a Dothan defender on a six-yard slant route.
Jay Roberts, Smiths Station, quarterback — Roberts was key before his third quarter exit due to an injury. The quarterback was 5-for-15 in the passing game with 73 yards. He added the touchdown to go along with 38 yards on the ground.
Key individual stats: Smiths Station — Joe Lewis, running back, 14 rushes for 74 yards. Stevie Pringle, running back, seven rushes for 26 yards. Chris Phillips, wide receiver, 1 catch for 30 yards. Bradley Harris, kicker, 2-for-2 field goals.
Coach quote: “It’s a good feeling to win after the adversity we had to overcome,” said Adam Fossett, who recorded his first win as the head coach of Smiths Station. “We sputtered on offense and had to reset there for a bit, but our defense played great and we got a great special teams play by Jared.”
Player quote: “I told Jay when he went down that we got this,” said Elias. “I saw the ball go up and I knew I was going to have time to make a play. I got great blocks and was able to take it to the end zone.”
Friday at Panther Stadium
S — Tyson Tolliver 6-yard reception from Jay Roberts (Bradley Harris kick), 3:37
D — Safety (bad snap on punt), 0:04
S — 21-yard field goal by Harris, 6:51
S — 38-yard field goal by Harris, 0:11
S — 30-yard punt return by Jared Elias (Harris kick), 11:46
D — Tyson Williams 36-yard reception from Bubba McDaniel (Akim Walden kick), 2:14
Records: Dothan, 0-2; Smiths Station 1-1. Next: Dothan, Friday at Russell County; Smiths Station, Friday at Jefferson Davis.