A thrilling home victory for the DeSoto Dragons has them in first place in the MAFC Red division after the Dragons rallied to knock off the North County Raiders 17-16 Friday at J.C. Culwell Stadium.

A big 44-yard run on fourth down for senior Raider running back Layton Mallow set himself up for a one-yard scoring plunge on the game’s opening drive, but the 8-0 lead North County took on the game’s opening drive would hold after a bevy miscues on both sides.

Those miscues started on the Raiders’ very next drive.

The Dragons were unable to make good on the takeaway, as the drive ended with a missed field goal.
But after Desoto recovered a fumble, the Dragons turned it over again on an interception.

And then North County gave it right back.

The Raiders would still take an 8-0 lead into halftime and still led by five after DeSoto’s opening drive of the third quarter ended in a field goal.
A game full of turnovers would soon have another.

And while they wouldn’t make Ruess’ second pick pay off, the North County special teams would step up late in the third quarter.

Trailing 16-3 with a minute left in the third quarter, somehow, DeSoto found its composure, as the Dragons cut the lead in half on the next play from scrimmage.

That was the Serenity Hospice Care Play of the Game, as John Whited finished with 3 catches for 90 yards to earn Applebee’s Player of the Game.
With the score cut in half, the Dragons forced North County to punt and hit another big pass play on a 69-yard bomb from Briar Fischer to Caleb Coleman.
The very next play, DeSoto completed the comeback.

The extra point put the Dragons in front, and they forced a fourth and forever to end it.

DeSoto head coach Chris Johnson praised his team.

Whited says he and Coleman have been waiting for their moment to make big plays.

Raiders head coach Brian Jones pointed to missed opportunities.

DeSoto stands alone atop the MAFC Red and is 2-2 overall heading for a first-place showdown with Festus.
North County falls to 0-4 and is at Kennett next Friday night.