LONE GROVE — Last year it took the Dickson Comets three games to make history.

LONE GROVE — Last year it took the Dickson Comets three games to make history.

Friday night, they needed just four quarters.

The Comets used a smothering first half defensive performance to take the Lone Grove Longhorns by surprise as junior quarterback Rusty Beard went for four touchdowns on the night, giving Dickson a 34-18 victory at Lone Grove.

This was the first victory for the Comets over Lone Grove since 2009, and the first time Dickson has won a game in Lone Grove since 2008.

It’s also the first time a Dickson team has won the opening game of the season since 2013. 

“We’re excited for this victory because the kids worked their tails off tonight,” Dickson coach Steve Day said. “I’m so proud of how they overcame adversity tonight. They responded to a lot of downs in the game, and we kept fighting and stayed together.”

Perhaps the biggest turning point of the game came in the form of two plays at the end of the first half, both of which benefitted the Comets immensely. 

First, the Comets defense took advantage of a bad snap on an attempted Lone Grove punt, giving their offense a short field at the Longhorns 19-yard line.

Just one play later, Brandon Sullivan went around the left side and found a gap, scampering 19-yards for the touchdown, putting Dickson up 20-6 after the Keshon Johnson extra point, with 1:04 remaining before the break.

“That was huge,” Day said about the end of the first half. “I expected our guys to be hollering and excited in the locker room after that. It was the complete opposite. They were calm, composed and that was really awesome how they responded to that. We just treated it as a new game and a new half when we came out of the locker room.”

On the other side of the coin, the Comets touchdown derailed what was by that point a small dose of Longhorns momentum which came in the form of a 36-yard touchdown run from JJ Barns, which made it a 13-6 score with 6:14 remaining before halftime.

“It hurt us going into halftime down like that,” Lone Grove coach Brad O’Steen said. 

“That was disappointing. We did come out and give ourselves a chance in the second half though, and I was proud about that. We’ve just got a lot of young kids who are having to grow up quickly right now. But, we’ll learn from this and these kids just need to trust the process and keep fighting.”

Lone Grove certainly brought the fight in the second half, as Barnes gave the Longhorns a shot in the arm following a successful stand by the defense, which saw the Comets drive down to the LG 17-yard line.

Barnes needed just one play to scamper 83-yards for his second touchdown of the evening, making it a 20-12 game with 7:40 left in the third quarter.

After holding the Comets to a three and out on their next offensive possession, the Longhorns looked to be full of steam as they drove inside Dickson territory.

However, a fumble recovered by the Comets at their own 32-yard line gave them a golden opportunity to go up again by two scores.

Freshman Johnny Smith had just what Dickson needed as he broke loose for a 65-yard gain down to the Longhorns nine yard-line, before Beard finished off the drive with a touchdown, putting Dickson up 27-12 with less than two minutes to go in the third.

Lone Grove wasn’t finished yet though, as Longhorns quarterback Colton Jones found Blayde Wilkerson for a 35-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to make it 27-18.

But, just under nine minutes later it was Beard once again coming through for the Comets.

This time it was Spencer Throneberry being the recipient of an 18-yard touchdown throw from Beard in the back of the end zone, giving Dickson a 35-18 advantage with 2:55 left in the fourth.

Beard began the evening with a 65-yard touchdown toss to Chace Orsack in the first quarter.

The first strike for the Comets was set up on the defensive side of the ball when Barley Byrne got an interception on Lone Grove’s first drive of the game.

“He’s (Rusty) a playmaker and does such a great job of managing things for us,” Day said. “I’m so glad I had him out there tonight. There was a couple of calls I screwed up, but he was able to understand what I was trying to call, and he got us in the right formation. He played so well on both sides of the ball tonight.”

Beard finished the night carrying the ball 10 times for 82 yards with two touchdowns. He also was 4-of-7 passing for 98 yards with two touchdowns.

“This win is special for us, because we’ve been working all summer for this,” Beard said. 

“None of this would have happened without my offensive line, so I give them all the credit for this game. I trust my line and just having experience with them went a long way for me. When you go into the locker room at halftime like we were able to, then it was a huge thing for us.”

Sullivan finished the game with 15 carries for 89 yards and one touchdown for the Comets.

Barnes was the leading rusher for the Longhorns with 10 carries for 129 yards and one touchdown.

Dickson (1-0) will be at home at 7:30 p.m. Friday night taking on the Ringling Blue Devils in their home opener at Comet Field, while the Longhorns will be on the road at the same time against the Davis Wolves in their home opener for the 2018 season.