Sardis claims victory over Cedar Bluff

SARDIS CITY — Sardis used a bruising ground attack to wear down Cedar Bluff and claim a 30-7 high school football victory Friday night in The Gadsden Times’ Game of the Week.

The Lions rolled up 323 yards on the ground to start the season 3-0 for the first time since 1988.

“Tyler Dixon made some big runs in the third quarter, and Toby Pee and Dylan Kelly gained some tough yards,” Sardis’ first-year coach Gene Hill said. “I couldn’t be prouder of our defense. We executed and have gotten better over the past three weeks.”

Dixon, the Lions’ quarterback, finished with 146 rushing yards on 10 carries.

He accounted for both of Sardis’ second-half touchdowns. Pee had 84 yards on 19 totes, while Kelly had 86 yards on 14 carries.

Cedar Bluff trailed 17-0 at the half, but came out on the opening drive of the third quarter and put points on the board. Levi Mintz capped a 63-yard drive for the Tigers with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Robert Henderson, and Curtis Abernathy’s extra point cut the lead to 17-7.

Dixon responded by leading the Lions down the field on the ensuing drive in just two plays. He opened the drive with a 50-yard run, then tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Kelly. The PAT was no good, leaving the Lions with a 23-7 lead with 8:09 left in the third.

Sardis’ next drive accounted for the final points of the contest. Dixon carried five times on a 92-yard touchdown drive, capping the effort with a 1-yard touchdown plunge. All told, Dixon rushed five times for 96 yards on that drive alone, including a 74-yard burst.

Jeff Snead added the extra point to give the Lions a 30-7 win.

Hill was unsure how his defense would match up against the Cedar Bluff offense heading into the game, but the Lions responded, limiting the Tigers to 179 total yards. Mintz was 10 of 25 for 108 yards through the air.

The offenses for both teams found it tough to move the ball to open the game. The only points of the first quarter came on a 32-yard Snead field goal that put Sardis up 3-0 with 2:35 left in the opening quarter.

The touchdown was set up when Blake Busha blocked a Cedar Bluff punt deep in Tiger territory, setting the Lions up at the 10-yard line.

“We came out flat on offense,” Hill said. “Give Cedar Bluff credit. They put eight men in the box to stop the run.”

Sardis got the ground game working in the second quarter to the tune of a pair of touchdown runs. The first touchdown for the Lions was a 30-yard burst by Dylan Kelly early in the second quarter. The score capped a quick four-play, 56-yard drive and Snead’s PAT put Sardis on top 10-0.

After a fruitless Cedar Bluff possession, the Lions struck again. This time, Sardis covered 64 yards in five plays, with Toby Pee’s 35-yard run capping the drive. Another Snead extra point gave the Lions a 17-0 lead, which stood at the half.