0824-We2 file 2.jpg

File / Tallapoosa Publishers Wetumpka’s Malik Davis (24) returned a kickoff for a touchdown on the first play of the season during Friday’s win over Fairhope.

The first home game for the Dothan Wolves at Rip Hewes Stadium turned into a high-scoring one — and a historic Wolves win over a ranked team.

Sparked by an offense that scored on eight of 13 possessions, the Wolves outslugged the Class 6A No. 6 ranked Wetumpka Indians 54-41.

There were plenty of fireworks with 14 touchdowns, a head coach ejection and a lot of yellow flags on the field.

It also featured four Dothan touchdowns in the first six possessions for a 26-0 lead early in the second quarter plus a key defensive stop by the Wolves.

Dothan held Wetumpka and star quarterback Tyquan Rawls to one first down in the opening series, forcing a punt. Jabre Barber took the punt to the left and raced 60-yard for an apparent touchdown, but a block in the back penalty negated the score.

Penalties cost both teams. Wetumpka had 11 for 91 yards, while Dothan had 16 for 137 yards, including 45 on three consecutive penalties that included two unsportsmanlike penalties on Wolves coach Smitty Grider, resulting in his ejection. Grider got the two penalties for arguing another block in the back penalty early in the second quarter.

Dothan gained a first down on its first play — a 12-yard run by quarterback Jamal Lane — but the Wolves had to punt three plays later.

The Wolves found paydirt on the next series after the defense forced a Wetumpka punt. Starting at its own 38, Dothan struck in three plays. Lane fired a pass to Jayden Folmar, who took it in stride and raced in to complete a 37-yard touchdown pass. A try for two failed, but DHS led 6-0 with 5:42 to go in the first quarter.

Wetumpka went three and out with a holding penalty negating a first down.

Dothan marched 63 yards in seven plays, overcoming a holding call behind a 36-yard pass from Lane to Barber. Lane scored on a quarterback keeper to the right behind running back Ta’Bryious Webb for a 13-0 lead.

Wetumpka moved from the 22 to the Dothan 40 behind a 12-yard run by Rawls and a 22-yard run by Timothy Johnson and appeared on the move. However, Rawls went down the sideline for a long pass to Johnson and the Wolves’ Jaylan Faison intercepted it. He returned it 33 yards to the Dothan 44.

The Wolves cashed the turnover into points behind running back Jalen White, who ripped off a pair of 20-yard runs, the latter going up the middle for the touchdown making it 19-0 with 10:56 left before halftime.

On the ensuing kickoff, Wetumpka’s Daeric Seabon returned to the right toward the Wetumpka bench to the 45. On the other sideline, Dothan was called for a block in the back, causing Grider to erupt.

The three penalties gave Wetumpka the ball at the 15-yard line, but the Wolves, in perhaps the game’s key series, bowed up on defense, allowing only 6 yards on three running plays.

Two series later, Dothan’s offense got in gear again thanks to a 50-yard run by White that started a nine-play, 73-yard drive. The series was also keyed by a 4-yard run on fourth down by Lane.

Three plays after the fourth-down conversion, Lane lofted a pass to the left side of the end zone and CJ Shackleford leaped around the defender to catch it for an 11-yard TD pass and a 26-0 lead with 2:42 left in the half.

Behind good field position following a Dothan personal foul penalty, Wetumpka scored in six plays with Johnson scoring on a 13-yard run around the right side. The Wolves’ Faison blocked the extra point leaving it 26-6 with 55 seconds left before halftime.

Dothan kept things up in the second half, gaining a 33-6 lead when Lane fired across the middle to a wide open Folmar. But the Indians came surging back, making it a game with two scoring drives in the third quarter to close the gap to 33-21.

Terrance Thomas scored on a 1-yard plunge off the left side and two series later, the Indians were at it again when Rawls found Jaleel Johnson for a 34-yard pass to spark an eventual scoring drive.

Both teams scored three times in the fourth quarter, going back-and-fourth.

Dothan’s Lane scored on a 28-yard run up the middle and Wetumpka answered with a 64-yard TD pass from Rawls to Bowman, making it 40-28 with 9:31 still left.

But the Wolves answered with an eight-play, 63-yard drive to go back up three scores. The drive was aided by a cut below the knee penalty on a Wetumpka defensive lineman on fourth down that would have turned it over on downs. One play later, White scored on 9-yard run off the right side.

Wetumpka didn’t die easy though, scoring on the next series with a 1-yard run by Rawls with 4:50. Completions of 32 and 33 yards from Rawls to Davis and to Bowman sparked the possession and the deficit was cut to 47-35.

De’Ante Ramey put Dothan back on the board with a 1-yard run with 1:17 left. He carried the last five plays of the drive, earning 39 yards, but Wetumpka matched it with a 58-yard Rawls to Bowman TD pass with 54.8 seconds left.

The Wolves recovered the onside kick to end any Indian comeback and seal up the win in the first game at Rip Hewes for Dothan’s new program.