Dora one win away from championship game
by Johnathan Bentley
Nov 30, 2012 | 1726 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dora’s Kai Thomas (2) is closing in on 2,000 yards on the season. Dora plays at UMS-Wright tonight in a Class 4A state semifinal game. Photo by Jeff Johnsey
Dora’s Kai Thomas (2) is closing in on 2,000 yards on the season. Dora plays at UMS-Wright tonight in a Class 4A state semifinal game. Photo by Jeff Johnsey
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DORA — A fourth-down stop, a late touchdown and a fourth-quarter rally.

UMS-Wright has found a different way to win in each of its three playoff games.

Dora hopes to end that streak tonight when the teams meet in the Class 4A state quarterfinals at UMS-Wright’s Erwin S. Cooper Stadium. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. and can be heard locally on WJLX Oldies 101.5 FM.

Tonight’s winner advances to the Class 4A state championship game set for 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 7 at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Dora is making a 245-trip to Mobile for today’s game.

“We are on the road again,” Wright said. “It’s a five-hour bus trip. Somebody said, ‘I hate that you have to go that far.’ The alternative is taking up uniforms and I’d rather be playing football. We’ll go wherever they tell us to go.”

UMS-Wright (11-2), which has won four state championships since 2000, is no stranger to playoff pressure.

UMS needed a fourth-quarter touchdown to edge Beauregard 22-19 last week, got two fourth-quarter touchdowns to break a tie and beat Dadeville 38-24 in the second round and needed a fourth-down stop to hold off St. James 49-42 in the opening round.

“UMS-Wright has always had a very good program,” Dora coach Johnny Wright said. “Coach Terry Curtis does a tremendous job. They’ve won four state titles since he’s been there. They score a lot of points, but they give up a lot of points. I don’t want to get into a scoring match with them, but it’s all about Ws right now. We will take them anyway we can get them.”

Dora earned a 33-21 win at Charles Henderson last week. The Bulldogs had one tough playoff game, beating Tallassee 41-40 in overtime in the second round.

Dora, which ranks fourth in scoring offense in Class 4A, has been led by its rushing attack all season. Kai Thomas led the team last week with 100 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. He now has 1,916 yards on the season while both DeMarcus Kirk and dual-threat QB Caleb May are closing in on 1,100 yards each. May has also thrown for another 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns, giving him a total of 24 scores on the season.

UMS-Wright is led by brothers Tyrone and Troy Dixon.

Troy has rushed for right at 1,800 yards and 21 touchdowns on 254 carries while Tyrone has caught 65 passes for 903 yards and nine touchdowns.

“They are a finesse team. They are going to try to get the ball to No. 1 (Troy) and No. 2 (Tyrone). Our job is to avoid that. We just have to make plays on those guys,” Wright said. “They’ve got some quality players, but at this point, all the teams left have good players on their team.”

While Dora is already traveling extensively for the state quarterfinals and semifinals, Wright is up for one more road trip.

“I went to Jordan-Hare (Stadium) last year. I watched (Auburn) play Ole Miss. That’s the first time I had been there in a long time. I’d love to make that trip one more time,” Wright said.

Notes: UMS-Wright averages 36.5 points per game while giving up 23.8 points per game. ... UMS’s losses came to Class 6A McGill-Toolen (50-28) in the opener and Class 5A St. Paul’s (38-8) in the final regular season game. ... Dora averages 40.5 points per game while allowing 20 points per game. ... Dora has won eight straight games since its lone loss of the year, a 38-6 decision against Muscle Shoals, the No. 1 team in Class 5A, in Week 5.