SYLVESTER -- Dougherty coach Jesse Hicks wasn't just mad. He was mad enough to talk about it.
"It was terrible. I didn't like what I got from the refs. I think it was bad,'' said Hicks after his Dougherty Trojans lost to Worth, 23-20 on Friday night. "I really do. I love the way my kids fought, but it was bad."
Hicks was upset about an illegal procedure penalty against Dougherty that wiped out a 46-yard completion that came with 1:30 left in the game and the Trojans trailing, 23-20. Instead of having a first down at the Worth 38, Dougherty was backed up five yards and never recovered.
Worth stopped Dougherty's final drive on a fourth-and-22 play when quarterback Michael Payne's final pass of the night fell incomplete.
Payne started Dougherty's scoring with a 2-yard TD run that came after a bad snap gave the Trojans great field position.
Worth's Ellis Anderson came right back in the second quarter with a 24-yard run, but he left the game later with an ankle injury after he was horse-collar tackled.
The 15-yard penalty set Worth up inside the Trojans' 15 yard line, and
senior Jhue Rhodes ended the drive with a 2-yard TD run and Worth took a 7-6 lead. Rhodes finished the night with 110 yards on 23 carries and three scores.
"We started off a little slow, we had to catch fire in the second half. Being a senior on senior night we had to come out and win," Rhodes said.
Later in the second quarter, the Rams were driving again until Trojan corner-back Jeremy Brown picked off Tumaz Gant, returning it to Worth's 36-yard line. The interception set up a drive by the Trojans that was capped off by a 3-yard Michael Payne rushing TD.
The extra point made it 13-6 in favor of the Trojans.
An unsportsmanlike penalty on Dougherty set up a short kickoff to Worth's Kareem McDaniel that he returned 67 yards to set the Rams up inside the Trojans' 5-yards line. Two plays later, Rhodes found the end zone once again. The extra point made it 14-13, giving the Rams a one-point lead to take into the half.
Early in the third quarter, a high Trojans snap ended up a saftey, giving the Rams a 16-13 lead.
The miscues left Hicks steaming.
"We're in a rebuilding process right now," Hicks said. "We just got to take all we can get right now and use it."
Deep in the third quarter, Payne busted loose for a 19-yard run thanks to the help great blocking by Trojan freshman Kenneth Johnson.
Johnson was able to block three Ram defenders, thus paving the way for Payne. The extra point put the Trojans up, 20-16.
But on the next possesion for the Rams, it was Rhodes' big 32-yard run that helped Worth inch down to the goal line. A two-yard Rhodes touchdown and extra point would put the Rams up for good.
Worth head coach Scotty Ward said afterward that his team was five starters coming in --- then six after the Rams lost Anderson --- and he was just happy to escape with a win.
"We had a lot of folks hurt; we had to get out there with what we had," Ward said. "(Now after this win), if we beat Crisp, we lock down (the) third (seed in the state playoffs)."