KINGSPORT — William Blount hung around against favored Dobyns-Bennett, but the Governors did not take advantage of a couple of key opportunities and fell to the Indians 35-7 in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.
“They were a better football team than us tonight and executed better than we did,” William Blount coach Philip Shadowens said. “We are disappointed for our team because they have fought all year long and you hate to see the season end.”
This was the first trip to the playoffs for William Blount (4-7) since the 2016 season.
The No. 4 seeded Governors got some offense going early in the game. They started with a seven-play drive that took them into Dobyns-Bennett territory, but the drive stalled on third down and they were forced to punt.
Later in the half, William Blount put together another drive which included a first down pass from Trey Clemmer to Alex Mathieu for a gain of 20 on third-and-long. The drive stalled when the Governors did not convert a third-and-short just over midfield.
With William Blount set to give the ball back to the Indians, they were given a gift when punt returner Dalton Harkleroad muffed the punt. That gave the Governors prime position to cut into a 7-0 Indians lead. As was the theme of the first half, the Governors did not move the ball when it mattered most and gained zero yards on three plays, which led to a missed 35-yard field goal.
The good news for William Blount is it kept the ball away from the explosive offense of Dobyns-Bennett. The Indians had three possessions in the first half. The bad news was that Dobyns-Bennett turned two of those three possessions into touchdowns to take a 14-0 lead into the half.
“Our defense fought their butts off in the first half,” Shadowens said. “They were able to keep them out of the end-zone, but the bottom line is we could not get enough going offensively to win the football game.”
The Governors won the time of possession in the first half, holding the ball for over 14 minutes out of the possible 24. The ability for the Governors to pick up four key first downs and control the clock led to them having a shot in the second half.
In the second half, William Blount did not keep control of the ball. It went three and out on its first three second half possessions. This turned into more possessions for Region 1 No. 1 seed Dobyns-Bennett, which scored three touchdowns in the second half to put the game away.
“We didn’t play as good as we want to play,” Shadowens said. “We were not able to play our brand of football.”
Trailing 28-0 in the fourth quarter, William Blount got on the scoreboard on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Clemmer to Job Matossian. The Indians added the final score of the evening, an 18-yard run by Phillip Armitage.
The junior running back did most of the damage for Dobyns-Bennett, gaining 209 yards in total offense. William Blount had 128 yards of offense as a team.
“I thought our kids fought hard and did not give up, which has been the case all year,” Shadowen said. “We at times did not play smart, but we continued to fight hard through the game.”
William Blount did not win the line of scrimmage, which was the key to pulling off the upset. Both teams came into the game wanting to control the line and run the ball. Dobyns-Bennett finished the game with 143 yards on the ground compared to minus-7 yards rushing for William Blount.
“We couldn’t really get anything going offensively because they did a good job defensively and not allowing us to block,” Shadowens said. “It’s always been a game for us of who can control the line of scrimmage and they did a better job controlling it tonight.”