GB perseveres over Indians 38-29

Posted on September 6, 2016 by Mat Pellegrino

When the buzzer signaled the end of the 4th quarter inside The Tank on August 26, Dolphin students stormed the field.
They knew change had come.
And that change was in the form of new leadership along the sidelines for the Dolphin football team.
New Gulf Breeze High School head football coach Bobby Clayton knew he had a lot to prove that night. This was the first full varsity game he was coaching in front of a packed stadium. He knew he had to convince his team to fight to the very end.
And he did.
“Choctaw is a hell of a ball team,” he said. “They fought us every step of the way.”
All the way to the end when Dolphins rushed out of their seats and onto the field to cheer on the new team after they pounded Choctawhatchee High School 38-29.
Up until the very beginning of the second quarter, the Dolphins seemed to have a tight grip on Choctaw’s defense, scoring 23 points within the first 13 minutes of the game.
Their first touchdown for the Dolphins came only minutes after the Choctaw Indians put the first 8 on the board for their team less than 3 minutes into the first quarter.
Dolphin quarterback Tyler Phelps was adamant to get the ball into Indian territory after the Choctaw touchdown and 2-point conversion. He eventually did with a number of hand-offs and pitches, and eventually a 30-yard throw to Bryce Callahan who was able to carry the ball to the Indians’ 16-yard line. Phelps ended up keeping the ball himself and running it down the right sideline for the Dolphins’ first touchdown of the game. They also followed up their touchdown with a 2-point conversion, tying the game 8-8 with a little over 7 minutes left in the first quarter.
Following the turnover, Choctaw was unable to get it down the field and was forced over on downs, but that didn’t stop them from intercepting a Dolphin ball intended for Tristan Covell immediately after.
The Indians carried the ball to the Dolphin 47, but Gulf Breeze’s Will Sawarynski wanted payback. And he gave it to the Indians by intercepting a pass from the Choctaw QB Brady Ooten.
That interception was followed by another power play after Phelps pitched the ball to Tyler Dittmer who trotted down the right side of the field for a 35-yard run to the Indian 4-yard line. Phelps eventually pitched the ball to Parker Baynes who brought the ball into the end zone for a Dolphin touchdown. To keep the momentum going, the Dolphins completed another 2-point conversion, putting the score 16-8 with 1:26 left in the first quarter.
The first quarter eventually ended 16-8, but it wouldn’t take long for the Dolphins to put another touchdown on the board in the second quarter. It only took the Dolphins 18 seconds to accomplish that after Phelps made a long pass to Cole Sheppard who ran it over 40 yards down the right side into the end zone for another 6. The Dolphins opted out of the 2-points conversion and went for a field goal instead, putting the score at 23-8 with 11:42 left in the first half.
Choctaw would eventually follow that lead up with a touchdown with 5:38 left in the half, bringing them within 8 points of the Dolphins.
The Dolphins followed up the Choctaw touchdown, with one of their own with 1:38 left in the half, securing a better lead going into the third quarter. But even with less than 2 minutes on the clock, Choctaw saw an advantage to put another 6 on the board. That advantage came on the punt return after the Dolphin touchdown.
On the return Myles Betts snagged the punt and ran it 80 yards past Dolphin defense for a touchdown with 1:24 left in the half. The touchdown put them within 8 points of the Dolphins and essentially ended the first half 31-23.
In the third quarter, both teams did not put a single point on the board thanks to a tighter defense on both ends. But it didn’t take long into the fourth quarter for Choctaw to make a comeback that brought Clayton to his knees in nervousness on the sidelines.

Dolphin head coach Bobby Clayton pep talks some of his players prior to the August 26 game against Choctaw.  (Photo by Mat Pellegrino | South Santa Rosa News)

Dolphin head coach Bobby Clayton pep talks some of his players prior to the August 26 game against Choctaw. (Photo by Mat Pellegrino | South Santa Rosa News)

A long pass from Ooten from the Dolphin 48-yard line to Isaac Smith brought the Indians all the way down to the Gulf Breeze 13-yard line. A pitch from Ooten to Marquise Kane allowed the team to put another 6 on the board. But despite the opportunity they had to tie it up with the Dolphins with a 2-point conversion, the play failed, resulting in the Dolphins staying ahead 31-29.
Choctaw eventually got a hold of the ball again after a Dolphin turnover, but their reign didn’t last long. The Indians were able to march it down to the Dolphin 23-yard line. But instead of handing the ball off, Ooten threw the ball, which was intended for one of his fellow Indians, and it was intercepted by Gulf Breeze’s Warren Graham.
Although the interception put the Dolphins at their own 9-yard line, they were eventually able to push through Choctaw defense and brought the ball down to the Indian 1-yard line with less than 2 minutes left in the game.
Phelps held onto the ball since he was so close to the end zone and secured the win for the Dolphins by scoring the last touchdown of the game with 1:16 left in the game.
When the last buzzer sounded, the Dolphins celebrated their 38-29 win.
“Choctaw made some good adjustments to us. We kept fighting and kept persevering and came back. It’s exactly what makes a good football team,” Clayton said after the win. “Now we’ve done something special.”
Looking ahead at their game against Pensacola Catholic tonight, Clayton said some work had to be done before they faced one of their biggest opponents.
“We gotta sit down and clean up a few things. We’re never perfect,” he said. “We have to work on some things and come back stronger (tonight).”