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Dragons fall in double-overtime dogfight

(Photo by Kevin Lewter/
Collierville’s Clay Casey makes a throw to an open receiver in Friday’s double-overtime loss to Southwind. Casey finished the game with 193 yards on 14 completions.

The ice machines at Herman Osteen Field were likely empty Friday night after Collierville High School hosted Southwind in a three-hour aerial duel that surely resulted in sore shoulders for both team’s quarterbacks.

The Dragons eventually fell 36-35 in the double-overtime game that saw both teams combine for 559 passing yards.

Collierville got on the scoreboard early with a 56-yard punt return from wide receiver Drew Van de Vuurst.

The sophomore finished the game with six catches for 110 yards.

“Drew is a difference maker,” said Collierville Head Coach Mike O’Neill. “He has the speed and vision to break one at any time.”

After keeping the Jaguars scoreless in the first quarter, the Dragons scored again in the second on a 10-yard scramble from quarterback Clay Casey.

Southwind finally scored on a 30-yard pass from Darius Henderson to Justin Kelly.

But the Dragons negated the Jaguar score with a three-quarter field hookup from Casey to Van de Vuurst. Casey then targeted senior fullback D.J. Barrow for a successful two-point conversion.

“Clay played solid and is gaining more confidence,” O’Neill said.

Southwind answered with another touchdown pass from Henderson after an unlikely drive that included a 20-yard completion on fourth down.

O’Neill called the 4th and 20 completion one of two plays that changed the game.

“Up 21-7 first half,” he said, “they had a 4th and 20 and threw into triple coverage. We tip right to the receiver in the end zone. Ouch.”

The other game-changer occurred early in the third quarter when Southwind’s Christopher Westbrook returned a forced fumble for a touchdown.

“We have to prevent putting the ball on the ground,” O’Neill said.

Southwind completed the two-point conversion and tied the game at 21.

When neither team scored in the fourth quarter, the game went to overtime.

The Jaguars scored first in extra time on another pass from Henderson, who finished the game with 366 passing yards.

However, the Dragons forced double overtime on another Casey to Van de Vuurst red zone connection and subsequent Corbin Peeper field goal.

Collierville scored first in double overtime on a 3-yard run from junior running back Mitch Owens. Peeper again completed the extra point.

Southwind matched the Dragon’s touchdown and elected to go for the two-point conversion to end the game.

Henderson again targeted Tyler Brewer and the Jaguars won a close contest that saw 33 first downs and 759 total yards of offense.

“What is wild about this game,” O’Neill said, “is that Southwind had 92 plays on offense and 58 of them were passes. I hope last Friday night taught us some things about defending the pass by evaluating film and getting our young defense to improve in this area.

“Overall,” he continued, “it’s important for our guys to continue to improve and get a lot of hats to the ball this Friday night.”

The Dragons will host a 4-0 Christian Brothers squad Friday night that has scored more than 40 points in each of its games.

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