CHAMBLEE, Ga. — It was Yogi Berra who said, “It’s never over till it’s over.” It’s as though the Hall of Fame catcher attended Friday night’s 32-30 come-from-behind victory by Dunwoody over Centennial at North DeKalb Stadium, a game which had more twists and turns than a Disney World rollercoaster.
The Wildcats (3-4, 2-3) appeared to have the game iced away, holding a one-point lead and the Knights (0-7, 0-5) facing a third down-and-28 from their own 30-yard line with under a minute to play. But Zaire Goff connected with Richard Shaw on a 70-yard touchdown strike to give Centennial a 30-25 lead with 47 seconds to play.
Dunwoody had just enough time remaining. After two defensive pass interference calls put the Wildcats on Centennial’s 35-yard line, Walt Anders and David Julian executed a hook-and-lateral to perfection, with Julian taking the football to the 14. With six seconds to play, quarterback Davis LeDoyen fired a strike to Anders in the end zone to give the Wildcats a two-point lead to seal the win.
“Every kid dreams of scoring a game-winning touchdown,” Anders said. “I was just fortunate enough to be the guy with the best matchup to make a play. The offensive line did an incredible job all night, and especially on that play to give Davis an opportunity to get the ball off. When I caught that ball and fell forward into the end zone, a feeling of pure joy came over me followed by an intense adrenaline rush.”
“That was a big-time throw” Dunwoody coach Mike Nash said. “There are a ton of Division 1 quarterbacks playing on Saturdays that cannot make that throw. It was awesome to see it go to Walt. When you have guys like Tyler (Eith) and David (Julian), they are dynamic and are great playmakers, so they get a ton of attention. Guys like Walt and Jack Hogan are the ones that make our team what it is. They are grinders. They do the dirty work and nobody sees that a whole lot. Same for Jax Warshaw. On our next to last scoring drive, Jax was critical with blocking on the edge on fast screens. He pancaked two or three linebackers on that drive to set up the touchdown.”
The victory enabled Dunwoody to snap a 3-game losing streak. It was their third win of the season, eclipsing their total from last season.
“In the past few years, Dunwoody hasn’t won close games like this one,” Anders said. “We have struggled in getting over that hump to win crucial games. Last night, we got over that hump, and hopefully the feeling we had last night will carry on in the Dunwoody program for years to come.”
Nash said the victory keeps Dunwoody in the playoff race.
“We needed (this win) badly,” Nash said. “We have been in need of a win strictly for morale. But this year is different. We needed this to stay in the hunt for the playoffs and we got it. The next two weeks are going to be big for us. We have to maintain focus and take care of business.”
Linebacker Cevon Mitchell took care of business. Returning from a one-game suspension from an ejection during the Alpharetta game, Mitchell intercepted a pass, recovered a fumble and totaled 16 tackles, 11 unassisted.
“Cevon was a monster,” Nash said. “He is probably hands down the player of the game. His stats were unbelievable. We are pretty good on defense when we have all of our guys.”
Next up for Dunwoody is North Atlanta at North DeKalb Stadium, 7:30pm Friday night. It is the final home game for the Wildcats’ seniors.
“Wow, I have dreaded this game for quite some time,” Nash said. “You love all of your players, but every once in a while you have a group come through that is just a little different. This is that group. They are a little closer and they love each other. That is what makes Dunwoody such a special place to live.”
Not only did this team develop together through elementary school, but they’ve been a part of Nash’s program from the start.
“They are a special group and I do not want to see them go,” he said.