JAMES CITY — Devonte Dedmon rushed for a career-high 250 yards Friday night during a 34-28 victory over Smithfield at Wanner Stadium.
But it was the last yard that proved to be the hardest.
After two failed attempts from the 1-yard line, Dedmon buried his head and kept his legs churning long enough to tumble into the end zone to give the Lions a 34-28 lead with 22.7 seconds left.
Smithfield (1-1, 0-1 district) didn't go away quietly, as Bruce Cypress returned the ensuing squib kick to the Warhill 24 with 13.7 seconds left.
QB Devin Williams hit Jamarie Wrenn on a swing pass to give the Packers a second-and-4 from the 18-yard line with less than seven seconds left.
Williams dropped back to pass on the next possession, but was flushed out of the pocket by a push from Warhill's defensive line. Williams threw up a prayer in the direction of Cypress, but the senior could not come down with the diving reception as Warhill (1-1, 1-0) celebrated.
Dedmon went to work early, rushing for 51 yards on the first drive, capped by a 1-yard run off left tackle. The extra-point try was wide right as the Lions led 6-0 with 7:00 left in the first quarter
The lead stayed until the second quarter, when Smithfield's playmaker took center stage. Donald King capped a nine-play, 73-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown. Colin Gary's extra point was good to give the Packers 7-6 lead with 8:00 left in the half.
After a Warhill three-and-out, King struck again with a 58-yard touchdown run to give Smithfield a 14-6 advantage with 5:35 left.
Not to be outdone, Dedmon raced 50 yards for his second touchdown of the game. Smithfield stopped Reggie Lipscomb's 2-point conversion attempt to maintain a 14-12 lead.
Dedmon capped the half with big plays with his legs and his arms. He completed a 14-yard pass to Jake Eubanks to give Warhill first-and-goal from the 3. Following a penalty, Dedmon scored from 2 yards to take an 18-14 halftime edge.
Smithfield dominated the third quarter, as King scored on runs of 4 and 2 yards in the third quarter to build a 28-18 lead with one quarter to play.
Warhill didn't back down. Devonte scored on a fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line to keep the Lions in the game. Dedmon then ran for a 2-point conversion to cut the lead to 28-26 with 11:52 left.
The Lions' defense forced a punt on the next possession to give Warhill the ball on its own 24 with just more than four minutes to play. Dedmon made two great catches on the final drive, including a 36-yard reception on fourth-and-14 to extend the drive to set up the winning score.
It was a far different outcome than last year, when the Packers defeated Lions 42-7.
The win was the first for Warhill interim coach Obie Boykin.
WARHILL 34, SMITHFIELD 28