Dutchtown High’s defense made just enough plays to pull out a win on Friday night against McKinley.
The biggest stop came midway in the fourth quarter on a crucial two-point conversion attempt. From there, the Griffins were able to shut down the McKinley rally and hold on for a 22-20 District 5-5A win.
Kajuan Coleman led Dutchtown (4-5, 2-2) with 106 yards rushing. Quarterback Brandt Fritsche completed just 2 of 7 passes, but one was a 7-yard scoring toss to Eric Washington in the third quarter.
McKinley (4-5, 1-3), which trailed 22-6 entering the fourth quarter, got 69 yards on three carries from Lil John Lewis. Larry Moore added another 52 on the ground.
“It’s just good to get a win,” Dutchtown coach Benny Saia said. “We’ve been struggling. Obviously we didn’t play perfect, but we played good enough to win, and we’ll take it.”
Turnovers have plagued Dutchtown for much of season. The Griffins only had one against McKinley, but it was a big one. With six minutes left to play and Dutchtown holding a 22-14 lead, Coleman fumbled at the DHS 31.
Jaylon Johnson scooped up the ball and scrambled into the end zone to set up McKinley’s two-point try to tie the game. Euric Larvinette lined up at quarterback and pitched back to Jawun Ruffin, who disappeared into the right side of the line near the goal line.
There was no initial call, and after a delay while officials sorted through the pile of players, Ruffin was ruled to have come up short of the goal line.
“I thought he got in,” McKinley coach Robert Signater said. “But I tell our kids we can’t rely on referees to make calls for us. We’ve got to make plays ourselves. There shouldn’t have been a question. We should have made sure.”
McKinley got the ball back once more with four minutes to play, but Terrence Lymon intercepted Ruffin at the MHS 25. Dutchtown then picked up a first down and ran out the clock.
The Griffins extended an 8-6 halftime lead with a pair of third-quarter scores. They drove 68 yards with the second-half kickoff for the first, and then recovered a fumbled punt inside the MHS 10 to set up the second.
McKinley held the ball for nearly 18 minutes in the first half but still trailed. The difference came on a pair of extra points that were affected by penalties.
After forcing a three-and-out to open the game, Dutchtown scored on its first possession. The Griffins drove 52 yards in seven plays with Fitell Bolding doing most of the damage.
Bolding had runs of 11 and 10 yards, and Dante Harris ripped off a 16-yard gain before Averee York pushed into the end zone from 6 yards out.
Eric Washington was ready to kick the extra point, but McKinley was offside, prompting Saia to send his offense back out. Coleman converted the two-point play with a run up the middle.
McKinley, which converted on two of three fourth downs in the half, responded with a drive to the DHS 40, but Auston Shelton intercepted Ruffin to end the threat.
The Panthers forced a punt, and used 10 plays to move 85 yards for their first touchdown. They were helped by two flags, one for a late hit and another for a facemask. Ruffin sparked the drive completing two passes for 31 yards and scrambling for another 13.
Jared Sparks finished off the drive running around left end for a 9-yard score after lining up under center. An illegal procedure penalty pushed McKinley back five yards before Aden Lopez missed the extra point.