DALTON, Ga. -- Dalton earned some payback Friday night but may have paid a high price.
The Catamounts rolled past Gilmer County 35-7 at Harmon Field, avenging last year's region-playoff-round loss to the Bobcats in decided fashion. However, star tailback Tre Beck suffered a lower leg injury midway through the second quarter and did not return.
"First of all, what a great job, great effort by our defense," Dalton coach Matt Land, whose 2-1 team outgained Gilmer 372 yards to 124. "They played down to down and sideline to sideline all night, and I was very, very happy with that. From an offensive standpoint, when you lose a Tre Beck, you've got to move some things around, and Tre Bonds, for one, did a great job.
"We don't think it's anything serious with Tre [Beck] -- probably just a sprain -- but we'll know more this week. You want him in there, but we've got several guys who have practiced at tailback."
One of those, Bonds, picked up where Beck (45 yards and a touchdown on eight carries) left off. The speedy Bonds racked up 154 yards on just six carries, including a 54-yard touchdown run that made the score 28-0 two plays following Beck's injury.
The Cats scored on their first possession, driving 53 yards after a failed Gilmer onside kick, with Beck reaching the end zone from 7 yards out. Later in the quarter junior quarterback Cole Calfee broke off a 75-yard touchdown run as the Dalton veer offense had the Bobcats reeling.
Fullback Matt Cobb also got in the action, using a 49-yard run to set up his own 7-yard touchdown run to make it 21-0. Cobb finished with 84 yards on seven carries, while Calfee added 61 yards on seven carries.
Though Gilmer (2-1) scored just before halftime, aided by two 15-yard penalties on Dalton, the Cats defense was in complete control all night against the Bobcats' option attack.
"We maintained our blocks and stayed on our corners," said senior defensive lineman Cody Patterson. "We wouldn't let them run the mid-line option. The defensive line really got it done tonight. Every game is personal, but this one was a little more on edge because we wanted some redemption."
Land, who tried to downplay the revenge factor leading up to the game, admitted there was an extra edge to his team.
"It was a physical challenge and it is a game that meant something to us, obviously, because of last year and the way our season ended," he said. "We wanted to make sure they knew we came to play, and I'm very content we did that."
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...