Bulldogs lose nail-bitter, 7-6

Published 12:03 am Saturday, September 10, 2011

MIDLAND CITY — A strong defensive effort was not enough as Pike County High School Bulldogs suffered a gut-wrenching 7-6 setback to the Dale County High School Warriors in a Class 3A, Region 2 slugfest at Warrior Stadium Friday.

The Pike County defense controlled the line of scrimmage for most of the game holding the Warriors ground attack in check for most of the game forcing four turnovers.

However, the biggest story of the game was how the Dale County defense bended but didn’t break against Pike County’s spread attack. In addition, the Bulldogs’ offense was guilty of numerous untimely penalties and bad breaks throughout the first half.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Pike County associate head coach Richard Anderson said the Bulldogs were just one play away from their first victory in almost a calendar year. Anderson was filling in for head coach Rodney Dollar who took a medical leave of absence.

“Offensively, we did some things and then we had a penalty and a missed assignment,” Anderson said. “I thought we played extremely hard tonight at a level to win. But the score doesn’t reflect that. We had a lot of penalties. That’s the way it goes.”

The tone of the game was set early when the Bulldogs recovered a bad snap over the Dale County’s punter head at the Warrior 25-yard line but was unable to capitalize.

Late in the first quarter, Pike County reached the Dale County eight-yard before an incomplete pass forced the Bulldogs to turn the ball over on downs.

After Marlon Meadows intercepted a pass, the Bulldogs appeared they were going to draw first blood after picking up an appearant first down on a 15-yard pass on fourth down to the Dale County 10-yard line. But a holding penalty negated the first down and forced Pike County into a punting situation.

A screen pass for a touchdown was wiped out by another holding penalty for the Bulldogs. One play later, Dale County’s Phillip McReel made a diving interception at the Dale County 19-yard line with one minute left kept the game scoreless at intermission.

In the third quarter, Meadows was stopped for a two-yard loss on fourth-and-2 from the Dale County 49-yard line giving the Warriors possession close the midfield. Six plays later, Jarmarious Henderson scored from three yard out. The successful extra point gave Dale County a 7-0 lead with 1:26 remaining.

The Bulldogs finally scored their first points in 10 quarters early in the final stanza when Dominique Mills scored from five yards out. After a running into the kicker call, the Bulldogs decided to go for the two-point conversion. However, Meadows was sacked for a loss and the Bulldogs were unable to convert. Dale County led 7-6 with 8:25 left in the game.

Pike County forced another turnover when Mills recovered a fumble at the Dale County 36-yard line. The Bulldogs marched to the Dale County but was unable to put the ball in endzone. Dale County took over at its own 6-yard line.

Late in the fourth quarter, Pike County’s defense forced Dale County to punt from its own endzone with just over a minute remaining. The Bulldogs had one last chance to score from the Dale County 30-yard line. With no timeouts remaining, the Bulldogs were forced to put the ball in the air. After four straight incomplete passes, Pike County saw its frustrating early season continue with another heartbreaking loss.

The Bulldogs return to action this Friday night when they host Abbeville in another key region game. Kickoff from Brundidge is set for 7 p.m.