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’Dogs crash postseason in big way

’Dogs crash postseason in big way

Posted: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 12:02 pm

By RANDY CAVIN
Special to The Press
In a matchup between two teams heading to the playoffs, it was the Gleason Bulldogs who made a big statement with their defense Friday night in a 33-6 win over the Hollow Rock-Bruceton Central Tigers at Parks Edwards Field in Gleason.
It was Gleason’s first district win of the season as they closed out the regular season with some momentum going in the TSSAA State Playoffs. The Bulldogs (5-5) finished the regular season winning three out of their last four games, including two in a row.
It was the defense that set the tone of the game for the second week in a row, limiting the Tigers to just 91 yards of total offense. Bruceton only managed to gain 34 yards on the ground to go along with six first downs. The Bulldogs also forced the Tigers to punt six times.
“Our defense really came out to play tonight. We were real physical defensively and got after them,” Gleason head coach Noah Lampkins said.
It was also the second time in as many weeks that the defense set up the offense for scoring drives. After a quick three-and-out to start the game, Gleason went 54 yards in 13 plays, capped off by Conner Verdell using the quarterback draw to score from eight yards out.
The Tigers tied the score at 6-6 when Haden Williams hit Elijah Phillips on a post pattern for a 24-yard gain down to the one. Williams went in one play later.
The Tigers quickly got the ball back, but the Bulldogs defense forced them to punt on fourth down at their own 44-yard-line. The snap went high and forced the punter to scramble with the defense catching him at the 49-yard line.
A personal foul against the Tigers put the Bulldogs at the 23-yard line. Four plays later, Ian Legens took the ball in on a nine-yard run to give Gleason a 12-6 halftime lead.
With it being a district and rivalry game, tempers flared on both teams throughout most of the game with four personal foul penalties called and warnings from the officials to both teams.
Gleason’s offense got cranked up in the second half of the game and scored on a 13-yard run by Verdell 3:03 into the third quarter. The scoring play was set up by a Verdell to Thomas Fowler 23-yard pass play. Verdell hooked with Fowler three times in the game for 87 yards.
The Tigers were unable to mount any kind of an offense in the second half against the Bulldogs, only managing 15 total yards. Bruceton had trouble holding on to the ball, fumbling it four times in the half and losing it once.  
Gleason’s defense also sacked Williams three times in the game. Gabe Lowrance, Sam Cosby and Reece Montgomery each recorded a sack for the Bulldogs.
The fourth quarter was all Bulldogs. With just over 10 minutes left in the game, Verdell went through Bruceton’s defensive line on a quarterback keeper and dodged the secondary for a 51-yard scoring run to put Gleason up 26-6.
Rekiyas McCauley fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Tanner Trevathan recovered for the Bulldogs, but they were unable to take advantage of it.
After Bruceton got the ball back, Williams was picked off by Verdell for what appeared to be a 34-yard interception return for a touchdown, but a pass interference call went against the Bulldogs, voiding the touchdown.
It did not matter, however, because two plays later Verdell got another chance and this time it went for 55 yards as he raced down the sideline for the interception return and score, giving the Bulldogs the final score of the game 33-6.
“We did well offensively, and we needed some big plays, which we got. They are a tough team to run and pass on. They send the house. It was a good win and a good battle,” Lampkins said.
“We made some adjustments at the half and we got physical and started hitting them.”
The Bulldogs now must get prepared for their first-round playoff game against South Fulton at home Friday night. South Fulton beat Gleason in Week Five 35-6. Gleason is the No. 3 seed and South Fulton is the sixth seed in the West Quadrant.
“We have them here, but we did not play well against them at all the first time. But we have some momentum going in. We are playing with a lot of pride and intensity, so we feel pretty good about it,” Lampkins said.
Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Parks Edwards Field.
The winner will take on No. 2-seeded West Carroll. The War Eagles have a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The other half of the quad has fourth-seed Union City hosting No. 5 seed MAHS in the opening round with the winner facing top seed Lake County. Published in The WCP 11.1.11

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