Playing at home on Friday night, Tazewell jumped out to a 14-0 lead at the end of one quarter and the Bulldogs, would endure some tense moments before securing a 28-13 victory over Marion in the Back of the Dragon Bowl.
Brody Patterson put Tazewell on the board first with a 12-yard TD reception from Carter Creasy. Creasy would then connect with Cassius Harris on a 37-yard touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, J.B. Carroll got Marion on the scoreboard with a 10-yard rush for a touchdown. Marion’s defense then made an effort to get the Scarlet Hurricanes back in the game when Kendrick Smith intercepted a Creasy pass and scored with a 95-yard return. The extra-point kick failed and Tazewell held a 14-13 lead at halftime.
The third quarter belonged to Marion. After receiving the second half kickoff, Marion steadily moved the ball down the field. The Marion offense ate up the entire third quarter as they moved the ball 49-yards in 16-plays. The Scarlet Hurricanes converted three fourth downs on the drive.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Tyler Gillespie and Cassius Harris stopped Marion’s Reid Osborne for a one-yard loss on a 4th and 2 play. The stop meant that Marion’s 19-play drive to start the second half resulted in zero points.
After waiting anxiously on the sideline for the entire third quarter, the Tazewell offense wasted no time getting into the end zone. The Bulldogs marched 95-yards in six plays. Creasy found Harris on a 55-yard touchdown pass. Zephyr Dagout added the extra-point and the Bulldogs extended their lead to 21-13.
On the ensuing kickoff, Brody Patterson caused a fumble that was recovered by Logan McDonald. The turnover set the Tazewell offense up at the Marion 45-yard line. Kaizon Taylor would start the drive with a 21-yard run and he would finish the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run. Dagout added the extra-point and the Bulldogs stretched their lead to 28-13.
Tazewell outgained Marion 418 to 109 yards for the game. The Bulldogs passed for 275 yards on 27 attempts. Tazewell rushed for 143 yards on 25 attempts. Meanwhile, Marion had 109 yards rushing on 39 attempts and zero yards passing on four attempts.
Carter Creasy finished with 275 yards passing and three touchdowns on 23 of 27 passing. He also threw two interceptions.
Cassius Harris caught 12 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 15 yards on two carries.
Kaizon Taylor led the Tazewell rushing attack with 69 yards on seven carries.
On defense, Brock Alley led the Bulldogs with 12 tackles and one tackle for loss. Tyler Gillespie added 5 ½ tackles and two tackles for loss. Defensive tackles Braylon Asbury and Jashon Taylor also played exceptionally well for the Tazewell defense.
The win secured Tazewell a spot in this year’s playoffs. This year’s team is the first class in school history to make the playoffs four straight years. The win also guaranteed the first season since 1987 that the Bulldogs have finished .500 or better in the regular season for four straight seasons.
Next week, Tazewell will host Fort Chiswell on Senior Night at Bulldog Stadium.