DUBLIN, Ga. — The first football game involving a Florida team at the Shamrock Bowl turned into a track meet Friday night.
Unfortunately for Suwannee High, host Dublin used the game’s first three scores and final two to outrace the Bulldogs 77-48, rushing for 745 yards in the process. It was the second most points a Suwannee High has allowed in a game, only trailing the 105 that Robert E. Lee scored 90 years ago.
“I could have gone without that stat,” SHS coach Kyler Hall said.
“We knew coming in that it was going to be a tall task to stop them offensively. They’re just really, really good at what they do.”
The Irish, who are ranked No. 1 in Georgia’s Class 2A and improved to 9-0 by scoring 70 or more for the third time this season, were good no matter what they ran out of their wing-T offensive sets, whether it be dives, sweeps or counters.
After Dublin forced the Bulldogs (5-5) into a three-and-out, it took just two plays to take the lead when JaQues Evans scored from 47 yards out after being hit at the line of scrimmage.
It was a sign of things to come.
Dublin scored on drives of three, four, two, three, one and five plays in the first half as the Irish ran through or around the Bulldogs to the tune of 204 yards in the first quarter and 442 at intermission when they led 45-21. Evans, who finished with 357 yards and seven touchdowns — which set a new school record one week after he tied the mark with six — also had scoring runs of 4 and 64 in the first half.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound three-star recruit scored from 17 yards out late in the third to extend Dublin’s lead to 59-35 and then tacked on three more scores in the fourth from 47, 25 and 13 yards.
“He’s going to go to any school in the country that he wants to,” Hall said.
“There were a lot of times that we were there at the point of attack, we just have to finish. We have to wrap and finish.”
Dublin’s high-powered rushing attack featured more than just Evans, though. Marcus Adams added 175 yards on just 10 carries, including a 90-yard scoring run on Dublin’s second possession on a third-and-5 sweep. Zion Kemp finished with 150 yards and two scores on 13 carries.
“That mix is a tough combination,” Hall added about the talented and experienced Dublin offense that included 10 seniors and a junior.
“That’s a really good team, a really good team.”
But after falling behind 21-0 on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Markelle Mitchell to Adams with 2:10 left in the first, Suwannee found its footing offensively and started to push the Irish in the race.
After hauling in a 46-yard catch and run on third-and-7, Jaquez Moore scored on a 13-yard run two plays later to provide a score for the Bulldogs before the first quarter ended. Moore, who had a team-high 101 yards on seven carries, added a 31-yard touchdown in the third and also caught a 17-yard pass on fourth down in the fourth to lead to another Suwannee score.
In addition to the two big pass plays to Moore, SHS quarterback Tyree Taylor found success moving the ball around. Early in the second, he hit a wide open Wesley Jones behind the defense for a 60-yard touchdown and late in the second, he found Keiwan Ladler on a rollout for a 30-yard scoring toss. Taylor completed 6 of 15 passes for 186 yards.
“I think we’re playing as well as we have all year offensively,” Hall said.
Midway through the third, Jones went over a Dublin defensive back for his second receiving touchdown — from 33 yards out — and then Moore added his second touchdown after Travis McKinney intercepted a pass at the goal line to thwart an Irish scoring drive and pull Suwannee back within two scores at 51-35 with 2:45 late in the third.
“Offensively, we kept playing and put up a lot of points,” Hall said. “If we can score on this defense, we can score on pretty much anybody.
“We just have to take the positives.”
But the Bulldogs couldn’t get any closer, although DeMarius Thompson scored from 3 yards out two minutes into the fourth and following an Evans touchdown, Ladler returned a kickoff 90 yards for Suwannee’s final score that made it 65-48.
Suwannee waits for Sunday's 7 a.m. unveiling of the Florida High School Athletic Association playoff brackets to see if it qualified for the Class 5A postseason. The Bulldogs entered the final week of the regular season eighth in the Region 1 RPI rankings, which determine the postseason berths. The top 8 teams in a region qualify.