Bulldogs fall short against Elbert
By Brandon Park
For the second consecutive week, big plays were the difference maker as the Morgan County Bulldogs fell to the Elbert County Blue Devils by a score of 21-14.
The loss moved the Bulldogs to 1-2 in region 8 AAA and 1-5 overall.
“We played well,” Head Coach Bill Malone said. “We have to keep up the hard work and intensity.”
The game started slow.
Both teams punted on their first two possessions. Neither team had much success moving the football, as both defenses were poised to stop any sort of attack.
The first big play of the game came when senior runningback Dominique Hall fumbled with 3:58 left in the first quarter. Elbert would recover and start the ensuing drive with good field position.
An Elbert handoff would result in a 20-yard scurry on the first play of the drive. Two more first down runs would put Elbert within striking distance. Following stops on first, second and third and goal, Elbert would pound the ball in from the one, drawing first blood.
Only seconds after beginning the second quarter, senior quarterback Terence Harper broke a 70 yard run that ended with six points. The extra point by Clay Duvall would tie the game at 7.
Elbert would go ahead 14-7 following another lengthy drive that ended with a rushing touchdown.
Two completed passes by J.D. Hawkins would push the Bulldogs down the field, but the half would end before they could push it into the end zone. Elbert would hold the locker room lead 14-7.
The second half began much like the first with both teams struggling to make anything happen. On Morgan's second fourth down of the third quarter, punter Clay Duvall would handle a bad snap, and after a nifty scramble, he was able to get the punt away.
This pumped up the defense.
A strong defensive stand gave possession back to Bulldogs. After driving down the field, momentum was lost when Hawkins tossed his only interception of the game. Elbert would take over on their own 36 yard line.
Two personal foul calls would move the ball across the 50. Staring down fourth and short, the Bulldog defense came up big again with a stop in the backfield. Morgan would take over on downs. Unable to move the ball, Morgan was forced to punt again.
The third quarter would come to an end scoreless, however, Elbert moved the ball inside the Bulldog's 5 yard line.
The fourth quarter began with an Elbert handoff that ended in the end zone. The extra point put Elbert up 21-7.
Needing a score, the Bulldogs focus turned to moving the ball. With 8:48 remaining, Hawkins hit Hall on an underneath route.
Hall, with blockers in front, squirted down the field eventually turning a short pass into a long touchdown. Morgan would pull within 7.
"Let's go," shouted senior captain Brandon Rivers as he traveled up and down the sidelines, pumping up the team. "Let's get back in this game. Make some noise. Let's go."
Morgan's defense would hold Elbert on their next possession, forcing a punt with 3:06 remaining.
A punt return of only a few yards would give Morgan possession on their own 30 yard line. Hawkins complete two passes and senior runningback Ryan Glosson broke two big runs, moving the Bulldogs within scoring position with only a minute remaining.
Hawkins would launch a third down pass that would be completed, only to be fumbled after a stadium shaking hit. Elbert recovered and ran out the clock.
The Bulldogs racked up 280 total yards on 39 plays. Glosson was the leading rusher with 87 yards on 19 attempts. Hawkins finished the game with 122 passing yards on seven completions, one touchdown and an interception. Harper led with three receptions for 63 yards.
Morgan will face region favorite Stephens County Friday night at home. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.