DRESDEN – Kendrick Malone told Keyvon Goodwin before Friday’s Class 1A football quarterfinal he’d do everything he could to help Peabody win at Dresden. Goodwin responded similarly.
They both backed it up.
The cousins featured prominently in Peabody’s 35-14 win over Dresden, a result that not only avenged a 39-0 beatdown by the Lions earlier this year but more importantly pits the Tide against Nashville Christian in next week’s state semifinals.
A week after drawing attention around the state for a win over juggernaut Union City, Peabody ended the season of another would-be state title contender.
“We became one, and we’ve been clicking as one all playoffs,” Malone said of himself and Goodwin.
Malone threw three touchdown passes, two to Goodwin and one to Trace Hutcheson, and drained time and hope from Dresden with consistent second-half runs.
Goodwin deflected a first-half Dresser Winn pass that allowed teammate Bryan Banks to intercept it near the goal line, and then Goodwin intercepted his own Winn pass in the end zone in the second half.
Peabody coach Shane Jacobs challenged Goodwin following the loss to Dresden earlier this year.
“We said ‘Keyvon, you’re our playmaker and you didn’t make any plays.’ I really felt like Keyvon was going to come and make some plays tonight,” Jacobs said.
Winn’s 33-yard keeper set up Dylan Yates’ short TD run for a 6-0 Dresden lead early in the second quarter. Malone’s first TD pass to Goodwin soon followed, but later in the quarter Dresden drove 50 yards for a 14-7 lead. Austin Thomas took a Winn pass and followed his blockers for the touchdown, and Winn threw to Brice Williams for the conversion.
Peabody drove 61 yards right away, finishing with a Malone pass to Hutcheson and trailing 14-13 at halftime.
“After halftime, I felt like we could come out there and beat them,” Goodwin said. “Coach gave us a good speech and I felt my team was prepared, very well prepared, came out and practiced real hard and we did what we had to do to get the W.”
Brandon Johnson’s two touchdown runs, sandwiched around a forced punt, put the Tide up 28-14 by the end of the third quarter, and Hayden Baugus recovered a fumbled kickoff return to reinforce control for Peabody.
“We practiced all week like we practiced against Union City,” Johnson said. “We just came in and took care of business, took what we did Monday through Thursday and took it out here Friday.”
After torching Peabody with deep passes in the earlier matchup, Winn competed hard and along with Yates ran for some nice gains but could not complete many big passes downfield.
Dresden coach Derek Rang hoped his team could better take advantage of short gains given Peabody’s zone coverage, but he acknowledged the season was largely successful.
“You’ve got to look at the big picture,” he said. “I told them there are a lot of kids in this country that have never gone 11-2 in any type of football season, so you just be thankful you made the quarterfinals. 11-2, part of a good football team. Look at it as a whole.
“Of course our goal was to win all of them, didn’t happen that way, but you’ve got to look back on it and be proud when it’s all said and done. You’ve got to look back and be proud of your body of work and say, hey, we accomplished quite a bit this year.”
Peabody’s win closed a week that started with Jacobs publicly apologizing for some of his players’ behavior immediately following the Union City win. But he said he’s confident in the people on his team.
“A lot’s been said about this and that about our kids, but those are our kids. And we love them, and we’re proud of them, and I just can’t tell you the fight and the grit and the determination and the tenacity which these kids played with,” Jacobs said.
“These kids have something special inside of them, and it’s got nothing to do with me, it’s got nothing to do with any other coaches. It’s got to do with these kids and the way they’re raised and their never-quit attitude. I couldn’t be more proud of ‘em.”
Craig Thomas, 425-9634