Dogs pin Eagles down
Morgan beats East Jackson 36-10
story by nick nunn
photos by jesse walker and josiah connelly
The Bulldogs walked all over the East Jackson Eagles last Friday in Commerce. The 36-10 win for Morgan County brings their record to 5-2, just before their homecoming game against Franklin County this week.
East Jackson got the ball first to begin the game, but Morgan County scored first with a 35-yard touchdown run by Andrew Couch on the Bulldogs’ first drive of the game.
Wanting to stretch their early lead a bit more, the Bulldogs went for a two-point conversion. Marquis Benton was able to sneak into the endzone, bringing the score to 8-0 early in the first quarter.
The Eagles tried to show that they aren’t a pushover on the next kickoff return, running the ball past the Bulldog defenders, only to be tackled by Campbell Harrison on the Morgan County two-yard line, but they weren’t able to push forward the two yards for a touchdown and had to settle for a field goal instead.
Morgan County was able to advance down the field consistently on their next drive. A one-yard run by Benton finished the drive in the endzone, and the score was 15-3 with less than three minutes to go in the first quarter.
But the Bulldogs had blood in their eyes after the last two weeks, and they weren’t ready to relax after securing the early lead.
On the first play of the Eagles’ next drive, Tyler Efird recovered a fumble by East Jackson on their 25-yard line, and Trent Hawk threw a 24-yard pass into the endzone to Austin Ross for the Bulldogs’ third touchdown of the game.
The first quarter ended with the score 22-3.
Early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs were able to score again, this time with a 20-yard touchdown run by Benton.
It looked like the rest of the half would go by without another touchdown, but, in the final minute, Grayson Segrest made it into the endzone on back-to-back runs for a total of 42 yards.
Morgan County received the ball after the halftime break leading 36-3, but neither they nor East Jackson were able to score in the third quarter.
East Jackson got their first touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter. They were helped out on the drive by three penalties against the Bulldogs, which added up to 30 extra yards for the Eagles.
After the Eagles brought the Bulldogs’ lead to only 36-10, Morgan County held onto the ball, eating up what time they could during their possession before punting back to the Eagles, giving them a final chance for the night.
Despite starting their last drive in Morgan County territory, the Eagles were not able to make much progress, and the game ended after a turnover on downs, 36-10.
Head Coach Bill Malone was not surprised by his team’s attitude and performance on the field this past Friday.
“Our focus throughout the week was that we just wanted to dominate,” said Coach Malone.
“We were trying to get in our kids’ minds that we were going to be able to go over there and impose our will.”
The two-point conversion after the first touchdown was also a result of this attitude.
“Friday night, we wanted to set the tone early. If they were going to make a mistake, we were going to take advantage of it.”
Morgan County, on the other hand, did not let themselves be taken advantage of. During the night, the total offense for East Jaskson amounted to only 91 yards.
The Eagles’ rushing total against the Bulldogs’ varsity team was -5 yards on 15 rushing plays.
Malone was eager to praise the individuals in his defense, including Grayson Segrest and Stewart Spence.
“Grayson did a real good job on defense. We had to play him a little out of position.”
Malone added, “His blocking on offense was a big spark that we needed. I think that his touchdown may be his first.”
“Stewart Spence had 5 solo tackles and 3 assists. Another stellar game for Stewart at his linebacker position.”
Malone also had positive things to say about both Ross brothers.
“Bailey Ross had his best game this year at center, and Austin has got the ability to find the seams a little better now that people are spreading out on us more so than staying in the middle of the field.”
This week, the Bulldogs are facing the Franklin County Lions at home for their homecoming game. The game will take place at 7:30 at Bill Corry stadium.
Printed in the October 25, 2012 edition