Quarterback Austin Dotson's role this season had been primarily to had the ball to one of three Rhea County running backs. He didn't need to throw the ball.
The senior may be throwing more often in the future after an efficient performance in the Golden Eagles' 56-20 win at Soddy-Daisy on Friday at Robert Talaska Field.
Dotson threw five touchdown passes, completed 11 of 16 attempts for 315 yards and never let a Soddy-Daisy player touch a pass.
"I don't know if five touchdowns is really what I had mind," said Dotson, who completed three touchdowns to his cousin, Noel Patterson. "I trust my receivers and I knew the O-line would protect.
"Soddy crowded the box and they'd try to stop the run, so we had to throw."
Dotson averaged fewer than nine passes a game heading into Friday night. He had nine touchdown passes in six games and averaged 114 yards per contest. Those averages increased before halftime.
Dotson completed 9 of 13 passes for 247 yards and four TDs before the bands took the field.
"They forced us into throwing the ball," Rhea County coach Mark Pemberton said. "We've been working on the routes all year. I thought the receiver made some plays and the line gave him time.
"We knew he could spin it."
Opponents know that, too.
"I told the guys that if you're going to win in the playoffs," Pemberton said, "you can't be one-dimensional."
Dotson first hit Patterson on a play-action slant that Patterson turned into a 79-yard touchdown. Dotson later passed to Taylor Jenkins on a seam route for a 19-yard touchdown. Dotson found Patterson open for a 49-yard score on a play-action streak that gave Rhea County a 28-7 lead.
Then Dotson expertly managed the two-minute drill and moved the Golden Eagles 83 yards in 86 seconds. He capped it with a 14-yard pass to Patterson.
Soddy-Daisy jogged into the locker room trailing 35-14. C.J. Blue had a 22-yard touchdown run and Hunter Maynor connected with Tre Carter for a 9-yard score to account for the Trojans' first-half scoring.
Dotson added a 56-yard touchdown pass to open the fourth quarter, when Demitrius Patterson took a screen pass 56 yards for a touchdown.
"That's the way it's been going," Soddy-Daisy coach Justin Barnes said. "We'll have 10 guys doing their job and one out of position.
"A little bit of it was us tonight."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...