Dover High School football fans might have felt the season was as good as over going into Friday night. The team dropped their first two games with a hard fought loss against reining state-champ Madison, and a poor overall showing against Lincoln. With Jefferson coming in 2-0 with their four-year starting quarterback in JR Reese, some had little hope for a Dover turn around.
Still, the Dover fans filled the bleachers with black, showing their pride and support for the Tigers. Even though it was a chilly night with a slight breeze, the band was in it, the cheerleaders and fans were in it, but most importantly, Dover was in it.
George Scalley, the vocal leader and one of the most feared running backs in the county and state, set the tone early with a 7 yard touchdown run. Scalley finished with 252 yards on the ground and scored all three touchdowns and a 2-point conversion after his first touchdown.
The defense for the Tigers came up big on third downs and Jesse Maka was leading the effort, recording a team high 13 tackles. Mike Mendez finished with 10, and Scalley added 5 of his own. With Reese running the two-minute drill going into halftime, the Tigers made a goal-line stop denying Jefferson additional points, which proved to be a difference later on. Dover went into the second half leading 14-7 and had every spectator on the edge of their seats waiting for the players to take the field again.
After Scalley scored his third touchdown near the end of the third quarter to make it 20-7, Jefferson quickly answered with a 30 yard touchdown pass from Reese. Dover got the ball back, took a couple minutes off the clock but was forced to punt with 6 minutes left. Jefferson moved the ball down the field quickly again, helped out by a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty on the Tigers. With minutes left on the clock, Luis Rodriguez intercepted Reese on a tipped ball in the middle of the field and made an amazing diving catch to get the ball back in the offense’s hands.
Scalley converted on a third and six with a 22 yard gain to seal the deal for the Tigers, a game that will send them to their next matchup away at Hanover Park, who just handed Madison their first loss in four years.