By KATIE WIGGINS
News Sports Writer
The J.U. Blacksher Bulldogs played their final regular season game at home Friday night against the McIntosh Demons, winning 56-20. It was the Bulldogs’ homecoming and senior night. The seniors and the captains for the game were Logan Crosby, Dalton Wilson, Tanner Weaver, Taylor Graham, Dustin Graham, Dillan Baldwin, Jacob Bowman, Cooper Dean, and Bryson Bowen.
Blacksher received the ball first, but quickly turned the ball over to the Demons due to a high snap that was recovered by the Demons. The Bulldogs were able to hold the Demons when they faked a punt on fourth down and 29 yards to go. The Bulldogs took over on downs and scored their first touchdown of the night when Bowman rushed 20 yards for a touchdown. Dean pitched the ball to Bowman and Bowman threw to Crosby for an extra 2 points. The Bulldogs struggled to keep the ball due to another bad snap and an interception. Crosby stepped up on defense and intercepted a pass by the Demons in a fourth and goal situation. Weaver had a 66-yard run, which would have been longer if it had not been brought back due to a penalty. Weaver finished off the drive by rushing another 23 yards for a touchdown. At the end of the first quarter, the score was 15-0, Bulldogs.
In the second quarter, the Demons put points on the board when a bad snap, by the Bulldogs, was recovered in the end zone. Bowman made the tackle to stop their 2-point conversion attempt. The next drive began with a kick return by freshman KD Rabb. Weaver ran for 14 yards, Bowman took the ball across midfield for another first down, followed by another first down by Weaver, and a pitch to Bowman set up a first and goal situation from the 4-yard line. Rabb found the end zone on the next play for a touchdown. Kicker Cooper Dean had 3 touchbacks in the first half. At halftime, the score was 22-6, Bulldogs.
In the third quarter, Rabb put up points for the Bulldogs when he had a 32-yard touchdown pass. Crosby also got his second interception for the night. This set up the drive that resulted in Rabb’s running 14 yards for another touchdown. McIntosh rushed for another touchdown, making the score 35-12 going into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Demons got the ball due to a high snap. The Demons took advantage of the error and scored a touchdown. A penalty against the Bulldogs allowed the Demons a second attempt at a 2-point conversion, which was good. After the kickoff, it took the Bulldogs only 2 plays to score. Dean ran 62 yards for a Blacksher touchdown. Weaver got his hands on the ball on defense and got a pick 6. Sophomore Justin Heffington got an interception as well.
Jadaniel Nettles, eighth-grader, ran 11 yards for a Bulldog touchdown. Dean had 5 touchbacks in the second half. The final score was 56-20, Blacksher.
On offense, Weaver rushed 190 yards on 10 carries and had 1 touchdown. Bowman had 68 yards on 6 rushes and had 1 touchdown. Dean rushed 62 yards and had 1 touchdown. Nettles had 33 yards on 5 carries and had 1 touchdown. Rabb had 43 yards on 3 carries and 2 touchdowns. Dean completed 5 out of 10 passes for 97 yards. Rabb had 4 catches for 75 yards and 1 touchdown. Bowman had 1 catch for 22 yards.
There were no defensive stats available.
Several seniors gave statements after the game.
Bowen stated, “I believe we played a good game tonight. It’s always good to win on homecoming and senior night. It is probably my last time playing on that field and I feel blessed to have another win.”
Taylor Graham stated, “We played well. We had some busted assignments at moments and we have a lot of things to improve on before the playoffs.”
Bowman stated, “It felt good to play on our home field. I think we played way better than we have the past four weeks. It was senior night so it helped us strive to be better.”
Head Coach Wes Sims gave a statement after the game saying, “Overall, I was pretty pleased. I was a little disappointed in the first half. We had some errors and turnovers on snapping the ball. Our defense played well. We were able to play a lot of young kids, especially in the second half. I’m just proud of the boys and I’m proud of our coaches.”
The Bulldogs will travel to Luverne for the first round of the playoffs on Friday, November 10.