Just one play later, those dreams were as good as dashed.
Jemarcus Brown raced 59 yards for a touchdown on the very first snap of the third quarter and tacked on two more second-half scoring scampers to lead the Tornadoes to an overwhelming 38-22 victory over the No. 3 Bulldogs on Friday night.
Brown, who also reached the end zone on a pair of runs in the opening quarter, finished with 26 carries for 258 rushing yards. A whopping 177 of those came on his five TDs, which covered 53, 11, 59, 3 and 47 yards.
“That's what we preached all week — if we can tackle, we can win. We just weren't able to tackle well enough to win,” Addison coach David Smothers said. “He's (Brown) not as physical as I thought he was, but he's just so shifty.”
The Bulldogs (9-2) grabbed an early ounce of momentum when Kaleb Estill recovered a fumble on Pickens County's first play of the ballgame. They gave it away in a hurry, though, coughing up the ball on the ensuing snap to set up Brown's first sprint for six points.
It was only once the score reached 14-0 in the Tornadoes' favor that Addison started to play the smash-mouth style of football its faithful fans have to come to know and love over the years.
Following a 23-yard kickoff return by Taylor Wilson, Kyle Denson began the Bulldogs' fourth possession with a 23-yard sprint of his own up the middle. Kolby Kirk did most of the heavy lifting from there, sandwiching 20 rushing yards between an 11-yard pass from John Everett to Kurtis Robinson. Franky Melson finished off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, and Denson plowed through for the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 14-8.
And Denson wasn't done.
After picking off a third-down pass, the junior made the most of the turnover on the other side of the ball, refusing to go down on a gutsy, 16-yard TD run. Wilson, who had back-to-back 11-yard carries on the possession, booted through the extra point to put Addison up 15-14, which stood until the halftime break.
The second set of quarters told an entirely different story than the first, however.
Pickens County scored six points on each of its first three drives of the third quarter — the last a 9-yard touchdown pass from Devonte Simon to Steffon Mccoy.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, weren't able to answer in each instance, turning the ball over on downs in successive trips.
Addison's lone touchdown in the second half came on a 4-yard run from Melson. The key play on the possession was a 41-yard strike from Wilson to Estill on a fake punt deep in Bulldog territory.
Simon wrapped up the evening 15 of 25 through the air for 150 yards to go along with 31 rushing yards and a late interception. Deonte Simon was the Tornadoes' leading receiver with four catches for 43 yards.
Wilson was a huge help in every avenue for Addison, rounding up 87 rushing yards on 13 carries, 77 return yards, two successful extra points and the lengthy throw.
Denson chipped in 11 totes for 60 yards, and Kirk contributed 34 rushing yards on three carries before exiting late in the second quarter with an apparent injury to his right leg. Dillon Jarrett filled in with 36 yards on the ground in the second half.
Estill had quite the showing in his final ballgame for the Blue and Gold, recovering a fumble, piling on a pair of tackles for loss and hauling in the 41-yard catch.
Smothers couldn't say enough about all of his seniors following Friday night's second-round contest.
“They're awesome. I love them, every one of them,” the second-year coach said. “They've been great leaders all year long. We've had situations all year we could've gotten down. And even tonight, we could've gotten down, but we didn't. We kept fighting. They're just great, great kids, full of character.”
Pickens County (12-0) will travel to Ragland, which whooped Brilliant 42-8, next Friday for the third round.