Last-minute TD gives Bulldogs win over Luverne

Published 12:36 am Saturday, September 27, 2014

BRUNDIDGE – In a game characterized by its intensity, the Pike County Bulldogs rallied in the final 30 seconds of the fourth quarter to beat the Luverne Tigers 20-18.

Luverne, a 2A region 3 team, came into the game 2-3 and managed to get ahead early with a score in the first quarter, but the PAT was no good. The Bulldogs’ defense kept the Tigers on their toes with hard hits across the board, and the Bulldogs retaliated with a score of their own with just 50 seconds left in the half. Head coach for the Bulldogs Fred Holland said leaving the game at halftime with a 6-6 score leveled the playing field for the Bulldogs.

“It means a lot to go into a game like that and come out with the win,” Holland said. “We made a couple of big plays. I think our score before half was big.”

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The Bulldogs came back after the half ready to play, but the Tigers pushed the score to 12-6 with just under four minutes left in the third quarter. The Bulldogs came back to tie the came up less than a minute later. The Bulldogs went for a two-point conversion but it was no good. The Tigers scored again with seven minutes left in the quarter, and after several turnovers and incomplete passes it looked like the Dogs were out of the fight.

But the dogs were able to fight after a fumble recovery by Stevie Smiley for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs maintained composure of the ball and drove it into the end zone to tie the game up with 32 seconds left in the game. Instead of going for just the PAT, the Bulldogs went for the two-point conversion and Holland said it was something the team had been working on since the summer.

“I felt like they would be really going after it,” Holland said. “I knew that if we went for it then they could block it, and that could put them right back in the game. I felt like it was something that we need. It comes back from 7-on-7 during the summer. We did it a lot. We failed almost every time, but it was a good stepping-stone for us in that situation. The guys relished the moment of just being able to do it. “

Smiley led the team defensively and offensively for the night. Smiley accounted for two of the Bulldogs touchdowns and two fumble recoveries for the Bulldogs. Smiley also led the defense with six tackles, but Smiley said he really owed it all to his team. “I just told my team to keep fighting and to never get down,” Smiley said. “We just kept pushing. I told coach at the end to give me the ball, I can make the play, and that’s what happened.”

Another key player for the Bulldogs was Deshon Cowling. Cowling had the one long carry for the team for the night with a 16-yard carry. Cowling said the win against Luverne would have a huge impact on the team.

“I just believed in my team, and I told coach to give me the ball and he gave me the ball,” Cowling said. “If it wasn’t for those boys I couldn’t do what I did. It was a hard game, I can say that. It showed us because even though we’re down that at the end of the game if we work hard we can be successful.”

While the game was a success for the Bulldogs, Holland said there were a few things the team could have capitalized on that they did not. “We faced a little adversity in the game,” Holland said. “We failed to complete some plays on offense and defense and we kind of fell behind. But I felt like we were still playing to stay in the game.”

The Bulldogs are currently 3-2 overall and will host Barbour County next Friday in Bulldog Stadium.