The Wolves (3-6, 1-4 Gulf South Conference) scored with just under two minutes left to take the lead for the first time since midway through the second quarter. The 20-17 lead didn't last, though, as the Hawks (5-5, 1-3) needed just 1:39 to go 76 yards and get the win.
"Give Shorter a lot of credit. They played a wonderful ball game. Coach [Phil] Jones does a great job," UWG coach Daryl Dickey said. "We had a good gut-check drive to go down and get the lead. Unfortunately, it's too little too late. We gave them an opportunity to be within a score and they took advantage of it."
It was a battle of rushing quarterbacks in the first half, as UWG's Dallas Dickey rushed for a pair of scores — a one-yard keeper and 14-yard scamper — while Dodson, Shorter's signal-caller, added scoring runs of 16 and five yards. A missed extra point was the difference, with the Hawks leading 14-13 at the break.
The third quarter was all about the defenses — the Wolves forced three Shorter punts, while the Hawks' defense forced a pair of punts and had an interception in the end zone.
A muffed punt led to the next Shorter score, as it recovered the ball on the UWG seven-yard line and was able to get a 32-yard field goal to make it a four-point game at 17-13 with just over eight minutes left in the game.
That's when things got interesting.
Needing to find the end zone, the Wolves got the ball at their own 38-yard line with 8:09 left on the clock. The UWG offense took a methodical approach, passing the ball just twice to go with nine rushes, including Dallas Dickey's six-yard run and dive up the middle. With the extra point, the Wolves were up three points with under two minutes left.
On their drive, the Hawks took the the air, as Dodson completed 3-of-8 passes, got help from a UWG penalty and capped it off on a busted pass play, where the quarterback rolled to his left, found nothing, changed direction and scrambled into the right corner of the end zone for the score, the lead and the win.
Overlooked in a disappointing loss was the performance from Dallas Dickey, who threw for a career-high 185 yards on 11-of-18 passing, while adding another career-high three rushing touchdowns, gaining 58 yards on the ground. But there was the costly interception in the end zone late in the third quarter.
"He executes our running game and fits that very well. We have to do a little better job throwing the ball, at times. We'll get better at that as we grow. I know he, like everybody else, is disappointed," Daryl Dickey said.
Bobby Burum and David Bailey had three receptions each for 37 and 31 yards, respectively, while Kramer Hendricks led all receivers with 53 yards on one catch. Seth Hinsley led the UWG rushing attack with 87 yards on 17 carries. Defensively, Adam Strakose had a strong effort with 13 tackles, while Juan Pickett, Amir Mustafaa and Clay Horton picked up sacks in the loss.
The Wolves will now have to regroup before a trip to Wichita Falls, Texas, to face Midwestern State in the second game of the GSC-LSC 1st-and-Ten Challenge on Saturday at 2 p.m.
"Another beast from the West that we've got to deal with. We'll get to work on them [Saturday] and get ready for the long trip," Daryl Dickey said.