Win over Putnam County–39-16–makes Morgan Bulldogs ninth in statewide polls
The Bulldogs won their third game of the season 39-16 against the Putnam County War Eagles in Putnam County last Friday night.
Morgan County was excited to be playing a big rivalry game for the second week in a row, and the boys came on the field ready to give Putnam County everything they’ve got.
The War Eagles received for the first half of the game, but a botched punt at the end of their first possession deep in Putnam territory left Morgan County with the ball at the War Eagles’ 18-yard line to start their first drive of the game.
Melvin Davis took the ball 11 yards closer to the end zone on the first play of the drive, and then Marquis Benton brought the ball the final 7 yards for the first Bulldog touchdown of the night. The extra point was good, so the Bulldogs took the lead 7-0.
After a short drive and a short punt by Putnam, the Dogs got the ball back on the War Eagles 24-yard line. On the second play of the drive, Michael Gray brought the ball in 21 yards for the second touchdown of the night.
This would be the first of four touchdowns that Gray would deliver over the course of the game.
“I couldn’t be happier for any other kid on our team than for Michael. Mike is such an unselfish kid, he is a shining example of what we can do offensively when everybody puts the team before themselves,” said Head Coach Bill Malone.
The extra point after Gray’s touchdown was good, bringing the score to 14-0.
Campbell Harrison kicked off to the War Eagles after Morgan County’s touchdown, and the ball flew all the way through the uprights, resulting in an automatic touchback for Putnam.
“We asked him to put it through the uprights if he can… and he did,” said Coach Malone.
“His height has been tremendous. Putnam averaged receiving the ball on the 1 ½-yard line.”
“Field position is such an important aspect at any level but, in particular, at our level.”
Putnam’s drive only lasted four plays, and they were forced to punt again.
The Bulldogs started their drive on Putnam’s 33-yard line, and, on the second play of the drive, Gray would make a 33-yard run to the endzone, bringing the score to 21-0 with 2 minutes and 34 seconds left to go in the first quarter.
Morgan County had the ball again by the beginning of the second quarter. A 29-yard run by Davis set up Gray’s touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. This time, the Bulldogs didn’t get the extra point, so the score came to 27-0.
The War Eagles got the ball back on their 20-yard line, but weren’t able to advance far. Tez Mathis got a sack, taking the Putnam offense four yards on the second down of the drive.
Putnam wasn’t able to advance the single yard they needed on their fourth down, so the ball came over to Morgan County’s side in the War Eagle 29-yard line.
Benton had a gain of nine yards on the first drive of the play, and, again, Gray would score a couple of plays later when he caught a 25-yard pass into the endzone on a fourth down play.
The Bulldogs attempted a two-point conversion after the touchdown, but they were unsuccessful.
“It’s alright. Nobody’s perfect,” shouted a fan from the stands after the attempt.
With the score at 33-0, the War Eagles got the ball but had to kick the ball away again after another short drive.
Morgan County had to punt the ball away for the first time of the night after their next possession, but the ball came back to the Bulldogs on the War Eagles’ 11-yard line after a turnover on downs by Putnam.
With fewer than 30 seconds left in the first half of the game, Morgan County scored again when Austin Ross caught back-to-back passes for a total of 26-yards, culminating in the fifth Bulldog touchdown of the night. A missed extra point attempt left the score at 39-0.
With only a few seconds left in the second quarter, the War Eagles were able to make a 54-yard run, but couldn’t bring it any farther before time ran out.
The first drive by Morgan County in the second half of the game had several impressive plays, including 15- and 14-yard runs by Benton and a 13-yard run by Andrew Couch, but the ball was fumbled and Putnam recovered the ball on their own 19-yard line.
Carter Shultz had a big stop during the War Eagles’ next drive, and Putnam was forced to kick off to the Bulldogs from their own 23-yard line.
The Bulldogs fumbled on their next drive, but when the War Eagles fumbled a few plays later, Couch was able to recover the ball for Morgan County. These were two of the seven fumbles that would occur in the second half of the game.
With 4 minutes and 47 seconds left to go in the fourth quarter, Putnam scored for the first time and was successful with a two-point conversion, bringing the score to 39-8.
Putnam got the ball back once more and was able to score with only 39 seconds left in the game, including another two-point conversion.
The time for the game ran out right after Morgan County got the ball. The final score was 39-16.
Coach Malone commended both the offense and the defense with their performances this week.
“We got big plays out of our passing game and that’s what is supposed to happen in this offense.”
“If our tempo is where it should be and our protection is where it should be, we’re going to see a lot of open receivers as we progress through this season.”
“We’re where we want to be tempo-wise, we’ve just got to maintain that in games where the score is not as in our favor as it was last Friday night.”
As a result of the win against Putnam, Morgan County is now the 9th ranked team in the state for the AAA division, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The team moved up to ninth place from 25th place the week before.
This week, Morgan County has a bye week, but they will be back home on Sept. 29 to face Oconee County for the first region game of the season.
Printed in the September 20, 2012 edition