Why the Panthers won
Points off turnovers and a stellar performance from Morehead’s defense was the story in the rivalry win. MHS held RCHS to just 47 yards rushing and 82 passing.
Why the Cougars lost
It’s been a recurring theme throughout the season, but Rockingham has been their own worst enemy at times. Friday night was no exception as turnovers and short fields resulted in a 28-0 Panthers lead by the end of the first quarter.
Morehead — Logan Dodson was the Swiss army knife for Morehead. He scored 23 total points. The first, on a pick-6, two more as a wide receiver and 5 on extra points. In addition, Dodson pinned the Cougars on their own 5 yard line on a punt and he made a big tackle for a loss on defense.
MHS quarterback Johnny Dalton was 10 for 31 for 84 yards passing and had 43 more rushing on 9 attempts.
Rockingham — Quarterback Luke Smith threw a 44 yard pass to Jaden Tuttle for touchdown. In addition, defensive lineman Colby Smith tipped and intercepted a pass.
The big play
On the third play of the game, Dodson intercepted a pass and raced 40 yards for a touchdown. Three things we learned
1. Morehead is playoff bound due to their overall record and head-to-head win over fellow 2A Mid-State split member McMichael.
2. Lin Stadler was formerly the head coach at Rockingham from 2002 to 2014. He took over the athletic director position at RCHS before accepting the head coaching job at Morehead in 2016. Ironically, both Stadler and current Rockingham County head coach Brad Baker started their careers as assistants for Reidsville’s Jimmy Teague.
3. Baker said although disappointed with the loss, he was proud of the way the Cougars finished the game. The defense held the Panthers scoreless in the second and third quarters and scored a touchdown with under two minutes to play to avoid a shutout.
What they’re saying
“We needed a win. We haven’t had one in a while and it gives us a little momentum going into the playoffs. It was a game versus a well-coached younger team that we knew would come in and fight hard. We were able to take advantage of some mistakes early and once we got a working lead, I think our defense just kind of took it over.” — Stadler
“We got in the hole early and we had a hard time fighting out of it, so it’s a tough night, for these seniors especially. It’s probably the last time that a lot of them ever put pads on. It’s an emotional night, but I told our seniors – you going 2-9 – that’s going to happen, but I’ll tell you 10 years from now when you introduce me to your wife and you tell me about the great job that you have and about your kids being on the honor roll, there is no doubt that these young men are going to be unbelievable when they grow up.” — Baker
Cougars: 1-6, 2-9.
Panthers: 2-5, 4-7.
“It’s amazing, especially against a rival team. I’ve never really liked them at all the past couple of years. I just had a feeling tonight that I was going to be able to do something . . . It’s great. It’s a good feeling to play your last game at home and go out on a high note and help your team get a win.” – Logan Dodson, wide receiver, defensive back, kicker, punter
The first round of the NCHSAA state playoffs. For pairings, visit www.nchsaa.org.
Rockingham 0 0 0 7 – 0
Morehead 28 0 0 7 – 35
M – Logan Dodson scored a touchdown on a 40 yard pick 6. (Dodson kick), 7-0, 10:55, 1st
M – Johnny Dalton throws 8 yard pass to Dodson for a touchdown. (Dodson kick), 14-0, 9:17, 1st
M – Dalton throws 20 yard pass to Dodson for a touchdown. (Dodson kick), 21-0, 8:34, 1st
M – J.Q. Cannon runs for 6 yard touchdown. (Dodson kick), 28-0, 1:37, 1st
M – Cannon runs 36 yards for a touchdown. (Dodson kick), 35-0, 9:50, 4th
R – Luke Smith threw a 44 yard pass to Jaden Tuttle for touchdown. (Juan Gonzalez kick), 35-7, 1:48, 4th