Dogs fall to Dragons
story by nick nunn
photos by angelina bellebuono
Jefferson outscores MCHS in scrimmage
The Morgan County Bulldogs were outscored by the Jefferson High Dragons by a 23-point margin in last Thursday’s pre-season scrimmage.
The score at the end the first half, played as a regulation game, ended with the Dragons on top 37-14.
Special teams weren’t part of the second half of the scrimmage in an effort to allow the teams to play their depth players as well as junior varsity team members. The third quarter score again saw the Dragons on top, 6-0, but the fourth quarter ended with a 12-12 tie.
The Bulldogs won the coin toss at the start of the first half and elected to receive the ball.
The first quarter started off rough for the Dogs. Jefferson High’s initial kick-off sailed into the end zone– an automatic touchback that forced MCHS to begin their assault at the 20-yard line without a return attempt.
During the Dogs’ first play of the game, senior Michael Gray carried the ball for a gain of five yards. The Bulldogs fumbled the ball two plays later and the Dragons recovered the ball 16 yards from the end zone.
The Dragons scored their first touchdown of the game and Jefferson’s subsequent kick-off again forced an automatic touchback for the Bulldogs.
After a 12-yard run by quarterback Trent Hawk on a third-down play, MCHS was left short of a first down and elected to punt the ball. A botched punt attempt left the ball in the hands of the Dragons on Morgan County’s two-yard line. A short second drive by the Dragons meant another Jefferson touchdown, putting the Dragons 14 points up.
The 14-0 score remained until the Bulldogs’ fourth drive, when senior and MCHS team captain Michael Gray ran in a 60-yard passing play, scoring the Dogs’ first touchdown of regulation play.
After another Jefferson touchdown – followed by a missed extra point attempt – MCHS regained possession and, following three consecutive carries by junior Wyatt Martin for a total of 18 yards, the Bulldogs began the second quarter of regulation play with a first-and-10.
The second quarter was kickstarted with an impressive completed pass to receiver Drew McHugh, a gain of 34 yards for the Dogs that put them in position to score. MCHS’s second touchdown came three plays later, the score 20-14 with the Dogs within a six-point margin.
But Jefferson scored on their next drive and the Dragons kicked a field goal in the last seconds of the second quarter to end the first half of regulation play. The final score: 37-14 in favor of Jefferson.
“You can’t take things off the scoreboard,” MCHS Head Coach Bill Malone said following the game about the first-quarter mistakes, adding that he was “proud they fought back.”
The second half of the scrimmage was played without live kicking, and each team started their drive on their own 35-yard line.
The Dragons had the first possession of the third quarter, which resulted in a touchdown despite a particularly powerful tackle by MCHS’s Carter Schultz. McHugh recovered a fumble made by the Dragons during the second drive, but the Dogs were unable to capitalize on the turnover, and the quarter came to a close soon thereafter with a 0-6 score.
Morgan County began the last quarter of the game with a 17-yard carry by freshman Trey Chapman, but the Dogs weren’t able to move the ball to the end zone. A fumble by the Dogs later in that drive allowed the Dragons to take possession of the ball and score.
The Dogs’ second drive, which consisted of a single play, was a 65-yard carry into the end zone by freshman Andre Peterson. Peterson’s touchdown brought the score of the fourth quarter to an even 6-6. During the second play of the Dragons’ next series, the ball was fumbled and recovered by the Bulldogs’ Wes Cannon, positioning MCHS on the Dragons’ 41-yard line. The Bulldogs were able to use this field position to their advantage as MCHS’s Devon Colbert ran the ball in 41 yards for a touchdown.
The Dragons were able to score once more before the end of the quarter, which brought the score of the fourth quarter to 12-12.
According to Malone, the biggest issue of the night was players’ endurance levels.
“We’ve got to work on making sure that our guys are in good enough game shape,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure the guys that are out there on the field are ready to stay out there on the field.”
The season opener has the Bulldogs taking on Monticello on Aug. 31 at Bill Corry Stadium.
Printed in the August 23, 2012 edition