TIGER TAILBACK RUSHES FOR 219 --
MT. JULIET -- "'Da Haven" is in heaven following a lopsided 44-10 victory over Mt. Juliet Friday in the Class 6A football semifinals.
The Whitehaven Tigers (14-0) cranked out 630 yards in total offense and stymied Mt. Juliet at every turn to reach next Saturday's BlueCross Bowl in Cookeville against undefeated Maryville. The Rebels remained undefeated and trounced Riverdale High 42-14 in the other semifinal contest.
Junior tailback Mark Dodson was a one-man wrecking crew for the Bluff City team, rushing for 219 yards on just 17 carries. Dodson scored TD's on runs of 80 and 51 yards and turned a short pass from Timmarious Mitchell into a 28 yard scoring play.
"We didn't play our brand of football tonight, but we played against a very talented football team," said Mt. Juliet coach Roger Perry. "They had more speed than we could handle, but then again, I still don't think we played good."
Whitehaven made a statement on the first play from scrimmage, going on top for a 71-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell to wideout Gerald Perry.
"We did that for two reasons," said Tigers coach Rodney Saulsberry. "We knew we were coming into a hostile environment and we wanted to take the crowd out of play. But also, we wanted our team to believe. We wanted them to believe in what we were telling them all week."
Mt. Juliet (13-1) countered with a 30 yard field goal from Ryan Jenkins with 6:53 left in the first, but the Tigers reeled off 30 unanswered points to take a 37-3 lead and never looked back.
All told, Whitehaven rushed for 411 yards on 39 attempts. Mitchell completed 6-of-13 passes for 219 yards and a pair of scores.
Mt. Juliet was limited to 100 yards rushing on 32 tries. Junior halfback Caleb Hopkins led the way with 54 yards on 12 carries. Contrez McCathern had 46 yards on 17 attempts.
QB Caleb Chowbay completed 4-of-14 passes for 59 yards as he was under constant pressure from Whitehaven's massive defensive front. He threw for one TD and was picked off once.