Hart Co. Sacked!
Dogs beat Hart County 35-8, prepare for possible playoff bid
By Nick Nunn
The Morgan County Bulldogs decimated the Hart County Bulldogs last Saturday in Hart County, 35-8. The victory over Hart puts Morgan County 7-2 for the season and in a good position to be second seed in the first round of region playoffs, provided they can beat Jackson County this week at home.
From the very beginning of the game against Hart, there was a feeling on the field that Morgan County would walk away with a win.
Hart County got the ball to begin the game, but Andrew Couch intercepted a pass on the first play of the drive, giving Morgan County the ball in Hart’s territory very early.
Marquis Benton and Michael Gray traded carries until a five-yard carry by Gray gave Morgan County their first touchdown of the night. After Campbell Harrison’s kick for the extra point, the score was 7-0 with only a minute and 45 seconds off the clock in the first quarter.
At this point, Head Coach Bill Malone was already feeling the momentum shifting to their favor.
“When the offense ran out on the field, I said, ‘Let’s please hold onto the ball, secure it, because everything is beginning to tip – and you don’t say that on the first play of the game. Never do you say it is beginning to tip. But it did that night, and it continued.”
“Our boys kept picking up the bottom end of that pitcher and letting everything run out. It was a really good feeling.”
Morgan County’s defense held Hart County in check, forcing them to punt on the fourth play of their possession.
“We’re the real Dogs!” shouted a Morgan County fan before the punt.
Morgan County wasn’t able to capitalize on their next possession, but they received the ball back with four minutes to go in the first quarter after another failed drive by Hart County.
Morgan was able to score once more before the end of the quarter. After a 14-yard drive by Benton and an 18-yard carry by Couch got the Bulldogs in good field position, Melvin Davis scored with a 25-yard carry.
Going into the second quarter, Morgan County was leading 14-0.
They would increase their lead during their first drive of the quarter with a touchdown on a short drive by Benton.
On the extra point attempt, Hart County incurred a penalty, decreasing the distance to the goal, so Coach Malone, as he has in the last two games when this situation arose, went for a two-point conversion.
The conversion attempt was good. Benton made it easily into the endzone again for Morgan County, increasing the lead to 22 points.
Benton carried the ball into the end zone for one more touchdown before the half, this time with a four-yard run on a third-and-goal situation.
The extra point attempt was blocked, which left the score 28-0.
Hart County was held in check during the last two minutes before the half. Tevin Waller sacked Hart’s quarterback on their first play of the drive for a seven-yard loss.
After halftime, Morgan County continued their domination of Hart County.
Benton scored his third and last touchdown of the night with a two-yard gain. That would be the last time Morgan County would score during the night.
Joey Perpoli sacked Hart County’s quarterback for a one-yard loss, and Hart wasn’t able to overcome the deficit.
Morgan County’s passing offense shone on the next possession. Hawk completed a 19-yard pass to Couch under pressure early in the drive, and Davis was able to get his hands on a deflected pass, which resulted on a 43-yard gain.
Despite the big advances, Morgan County didn’t score on the drive because of a fumble deep in Hart territory.
It looked like Morgan County was going to be able to shut out Hart County, but Hart scored in the final two minutes of the game and went for a two-point conversion, which was successful.
Morgan County took a knee in the final seconds of the game for the last play, ending the game a final score of 35-8.
“I don’t think anyone expected that kind of domination,” commented Coach Malone. “We certainly expected to win, and we expected to play well, but to go out and to play defense, offense, and special teams the way we did for the entire game and to dominate each phase is not something that any football team can expect to do.”
“Love it. Take it. But… no. That took us all by surprise.”
This Friday, the Bulldogs play the last regular season game of the year against Jackson County. In addition to it being Senior Night this week, this game will determine where Morgan County will stand in terms of playoff possibilities. Come out and support the team, as it has a really great chance of having a strong postseason this year.
Printed in the November 8, 2012 edition