CHAMBLEE -- Pope’s Will Zegers scored three touchdowns, including two during a 28-point second quarter, as the Greyhounds cruised to a 45-27 win over Dunwoody on Friday at North DeKalb Stadium.
“I challenged them in the beginning of the game to be physical,” Pope coach Tab Griffin said. “Even at the half, I told them they weren’t going away and we would need to be the more physical football team.
“And I really feel like we did that tonight.”
The night started with the Greyhounds getting within four yards of the goal line before turning the ball over on downs. But a quick three-and-out by Dunwoody gave Pope good field position, and a roughing the passer penalty put it inside the red zone.
Dunwoody’s Zion Fair got his hand on a third-down pass from Pope’s Kemper Hodges, but the 8-yard pass fell perfectly into Nicholas Bensman’s hands for the game’s first score.
Dunwoody’s Davis Ledoyen connected with Tyler Eith three times on the ensuing drive, including a 44-yard touchdown to end the first quarter with Pope up 7-6.
The Greyhounds would answer as Hodges hit Rhett Godfrey down the sideline for 45 yards. Four plays later, Zegers caught his first touchdown of the night for a 14-6 lead.
The second quarter scoring was just getting started as Dunwoody’s David Julian took the kickoff back 80 yards for a score. Pope would answer back, running it on four different fourth downs. Facing a fourth-and-1 from its own 44-yard line, Paris Cameron ran up the middle, broke free from arm tackles and raced 56 yards for a touchdown.
“Nobody else runs (the Wing-T), so you can’t simulate it in practice,”Dunwoody coach Mike Nash said. “We play (against) spread offenses all year long, then you play against something no one does and it’s hard when the first real look our kids get is in the ball game.”
Pope’s Rhett Godfrey returned a blocked punt 33 yards for a touchdown midway through the second quarter. Then, Dunwoody followed with a 10-play drive, capped off when Julian ran in from 7 yards out.
“(Julian) is an unbelievable athlete and he kind of kept them in the game,” Griffin said. “They threw a ton of screens and we didn’t do a good job tackling out in the perimeter.”
The same could be said for Dunwoody, who allowed Cameron to run for 109 yards in the first half, but were hurt more by Hodges, who’s 33-yard pass to Zach Yates set up Zegers’ 18-yard pass from Cameron to close the first-half scoring.
“Our offensive line is a gritty blue collar bunch,” Griffin said. “Some games, we’re going to be undersized, but they buy into what we do and they really get after it.
“They take pride in what they do and the backs getting their yardage. Everyone talks about the touchdowns, but it doesn’t work if the offensive line doesn’t do their job.”
They’ll need to do their job next week when Pope hosts Johns Creek.
“We dropped one to Alpharetta and Johns Creek is going to be a daunting task,” Griffin said. “I just told the team we just have to take care of our business and let the cards fall where they may.”