CAMDEN — It was a dominant, winning effort on Friday night as the Preble Shawnee Arrows (2-3) ran the Dixie Greyhounds out of town in a 42-14 win.
The teams traded punts, turnovers and missed field goals in a sloppy opening quarter, but the Arrows finally pulled through after an interception by sophomore Malechai Stephenson later set up a 10-yard rushing touchdown by senior Travis Howard, giving Preble Shawnee a 7-0 lead.
In the second quarter, after punts by both teams, Dixie drove to Preble Shawnee’s 38-yard line, but a stop on fourth-and-1 gave the ball back to the Arrows.
After getting moved back to first-and-20 after a holding penalty, the Arrows would go on to pick up four first downs on the drive, capping it off with a 2-yard rushing TD by senior James Gibson.
On Preble Shawnee’s next drive, Dixie nearly got themselves back into the game with a pick-six after intercepting Howard, but a block in the back penalty on the Greyhounds nullified the score, and Dixie later punted on the drive.
The Arrows would get a good return on the punt and begin their drive at Dixie’s 30-yard line with 1:35 to go in the first half.
After a third-down conversion by Gibson at Dixie’s 16-yard line, he made another heroic catch, this time hauling in a touchdown pass while sliding on the ground past a Dixie defender, to give the Arrows a 21-0 lead heading into the half.
The miscues continued for Dixie as the second half began, fumbling the opening kickoff, which was recovered by the Arrows and turned into another touchdown, this one at the hands of Howard on a 6-yard rushing TD.
The Greyhounds lost another fumble on their next drive, leading to a 1-yard rushing touchdown by junior Xavier Adams for the 35-0 lead.
“I was happy with how we played up front,” Shawnee coach Dave Maddox said. “Defensively, we were able to get some pressure on the quarterback and I thought our secondary played pretty good.”
Dixie added some suspense near the end with a pair of touchdowns followed by a successful onside kick, but an interception by Howard ended the Greyhound’s short-lived comeback attempt.
For good measure, Howard added a 42-yard rushing TD with just minutes remaining to make the final 42-14.
Howard’s dominance throughout the game was evident as he finished with 155 rushing yards on 19 carries.
Gibson led the Arrows with 175 rushing yards on 25 carries, and Preble Shawnee as a whole rushed for 412 yards, averaging nearly seven yards per carry.
“Our quarterback is tough, runs the ball hard, and our running back is tough and he runs ball hard,” Maddox said. “I thought our offensive line did a pretty good job all night. We blocked pretty well.”
The Arrows won for the first time since their opening game against Madison, and Maddox said it was good to get back on the winning track.
“They’re learning, so the more experience that they get, the better they get,” he said “So, we’ll get better each week and hopefully we can get after Carlisle next week and get ready for the playoffs.”
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles