SPRINGDALE -- Shiloh Christian's offense took care of business early, but it was the defense that came to the rescue Friday night.
The Saints denied Dover of three scoring chances inside the 10 -- two of them in the fourth quarter -- as they held on for a 23-8 victory in first-round Class 4A state playoff action at Champions Stadium.
Shiloh Christian 23, Dover 8
Shiloh — Berus 3 run (Boo kick), 6:00
Shiloh — Fulgham 27 pass from Reece (Carter kick), 5:10
Shiloh — Reece 3 run (Boo kick), 1:00
Shiloh — Safety, 9:28
Dover — Sharp 94 pass from Price (Price pass to Cheak), 3:17
The win means Shiloh Christian (7-3) advances to a second-round game next week against 4A-7 Conference champion Nashville, a 56-13 winner at home over Crossett.
"The defense played lights out from start to finish," Saints coach Jeff Conaway said. "In the second half, when we couldn't punch it in, we had some goal-line stands. It was a remarkable performance for them, and we're thankful to be moving on."
Shiloh Christian took a 23-0 lead thanks to its defense, which recorded a safety when it tackled Luke Price in the end zone with 9 minutes, 28 seconds left in the third quarter. The Saints had two more drives deep into Dover territory and came away with nothing, then the Pirates struck when Price hit Jacob Sharp with a 94-yard touchdown pass and connected with Seth Cheak for the two-point conversion pass.
Dover (8-3) drove inside the Shiloh Christian 10 on its next two possessions, but had nothing to show for it. The Saints' defense stopped a diving Price short of the goal line on a fourth-down play with 7:04 remaining, then the Pirates' final possession ended when Price's pass to Cheak on a fourth-and-goal from the 7 fell incomplete with 4:09 left to play.
"We had our chances," Dover coach Greg Smith said. "We played great defense in the second half, for sure. Offensively, we really never got going. We can't keep going down there and fumbling snaps and keep stubbing our toes that many times inside the red zone."
Broc Berus' 3-yard touchdown run gave Shiloh Christian its first points midway in the first quarter, and Dover missed a possible chance to tie when the Pirates fumbled on a fourth-down play at the Shiloh 1 with 9 minutes left in the second quarter. The Saints responded with a 99-yard drive, including a 27-yard touchdown pass from Connor Reece to Brennan Fulgham on a fourth-down play, and Reece added on a 3-yard touchdown run with a minute before halftime.
The game was halted for a lengthy time in the second quarter when Dover senior outside linebacker Justin Rothman took a hit and laid motionless on the field. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was reported with a concussion and was expected to be released.
Sports on 11/14/2015
Print Headline: Saints' defense keeps Pirates buoyed