Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Football: Lake Dallas pulls away from Little Elm
LITTLE ELM - For anyone taken aback by Lake Dallas' reliance on the running game Friday night, rest assured it was part of the plan.
Well, actually it became part of the plan after the Lobos turned the Falcons' offense inside-out on its first two drives of the game - a contest that ended with the Falcons winning 36-15 to conclude their regular season.
The victory was significant for the Falcons (5-5, 4-2), as it pulled them to .500 for the first time this season. It also solidified the Falcons' playoff positioning, as they are now a No. 1 seed in the Class 4A Division II playoffs, which start in two weeks.
Lake Dallas could play Canyon, Canyon Randall or Hereford in the first round.
Falcons head coach Michael Young had bigger concerns after the Falcons' first two drives, which ended in punts. He and his staff expected the Lobos (5-4, 2-3) to blitz, and that tactic was mighty effective. The Falcons committed two penalties for 20 yards and posted minus-22 yards of net offense.
At that point, Young and his staff committed to the running game.
"It was really more of an adjustment than a game plan," Young said. "We saw how effective their blitz was, and we determined that we were going to have to run the ball more."
And the Falcons did just that, gaining 275 yards on 54 carries, an average of 5.1 yards per run. They threw just nine times.
The biggest beneficiary was quarterback Dalyn Williams, who gained 124 yards and scored a touchdown on the ground. But Tyler Waller (76 yards and two touchdowns) and Tre Dickerson (66 yards and one touchdown) contributed heavily.
Still, it took the Falcons well into the fourth quarter to get control of the football game, thanks to three turnovers.
Little Elm led 15-14 after Lobos quarterback Devonte' Pullum used a naked bootleg to score from 11 yards out with 1:03 left in the third quarter.
Pullum led the Lobos with 78 yards rushing. Keaun Kinner added 71 yards, most of which were used to set up Pullum's touchdown.
The Falcons took the next drive and regained the lead, capping off a nine-play drive with a 17-yard touchdown run by Waller with 9:46 to play in the fourth quarter.
Up 22-15, Falcon kicker Brandon Womack kicked the same squib-type kickoff up the gut of the Little Elm return team that he had on previous kickoffs. But this time it went awry for the Lobos. Both Little Elm returners in the area of the ball failed to commit to picking up the ball. That indecision led DJ Haynes to fumble the return, which Lake Dallas' Daltyn Marchuk recovered at the Lobo 29.
Two plays later, Williams marched in from 11 yards for the score that ultimately put the game on ice, putting the Falcons up 29-15 with 9:21 remaining. Dickerson added a touchdown run in the final two minutes.
"I felt like we probably could have taken control of that game sooner had we not made those turnovers," Young said. "We were able to force three turnovers and we scored two of our touchdowns off of those turnovers. But when we get to the playoffs we have to hang onto the ball."
Lake Dallas turnovers led to both Little Elm scores. Dillon Bocanegra picked off a Williams pass in the second quarter, setting up a drive that led to Pullum's 1-yard touchdown run. Pullum's other score was set up by a Williams fumble, recovered by Little Elm's Tony Booth.
The Falcons will have two weeks to prepare for the playoffs, a quirk brought on by the odd number of teams in the district.
"I admit that we weren't real happy to have that bye at the end of the year when we saw the schedule," Young said. "But now I think it's coming at a good time. There are times during a season when you need to work on yourself as a team and not worry about an opponent, and we're going to get a chance to do that now."
Lake Dallas 36, Little Elm 15
Lake Dallas 7 7 0 22 - 36
Little Elm 0 8 7 0 - 15
LD: Tyler Waller 18 run (Brandon Womack kick), 3:44
LD: Tre Dickerson 3 run (Womack kick), 8:17
LE: Devante' Pullum 1 run (Xavier Sanders run), 1:48
LE: Pullum 11 run (Jared Martin kick), 1:03
LD: Waller 17 run (Ferrando Joseph pass from Williams), 9:46
LD: Tre Dickerson 17 run (Womack kick), 1:18
First downs 21 13
Rushing 54-275 39-169
Passing yards 48 5
Passing 5-9-1 1-6-1
Punts-avg. 3-40 2-33
Penalties-yards 4-40 1-11
Fumbles-lost 2-2 2-2
RUSHING - LAKE DALLAS: Dontonio Jordan 6-9, Dalyn Williams 24-124, Tre Dickerson 13-66, Tyler Waller 11-76. LITTLE ELM: Matt Marrs 9-27, Devante' Pullam 16-78, Keylon Reid 1-(-7), Keaun Kinner 13-71.
PASSING - LAKE DALLAS: Williams 5-9-1-48. LITTLE ELM: Pullam 1-6-1-5.
RECEIVING - LAKE DALLAS: Michal Jurcek 1-5, Tyler Vance 3-35, Jordan 1-8. LITTLE ELM: Xavier Sanders 1-5.