By JOSEPH ODOM
News Sports Writer
The J.U. Blacksher Bulldogs fell just shy of victory at their first home game of the season this past Friday night, August 31, as they took on Prattville Christian Academy. Hopes were high for players and fans alike as the Bulldogs stormed the field.
To start off the game the Bulldogs received the kickoff which was run back 30 yards by #17 JaDaniel Nettles. The Bulldogs couldn’t hold on to the ball long on their first offensive series and the ball was turned over to Prattville Christian on downs. Prattville and Blacksher struggled over possession for 2 more series before Prattville Christian scored just before the start of the second quarter with 40.6 seconds on the clock. The following extra point attempt was good making the score 0-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Blacksher started the second quarter with the ball and after 3 run attempts quarterback K.D. Rabb connected with junior defensive back and receiver #4 J.T. Tucker for a touchdown. Blacksher followed the touchdown with a 2-point conversion attempt which was successful, making the score 8-7 with 10:05 left in the second quarter.
On Prattville Christian’s next possession they managed to drive the ball down to the 15-yard line, but were held fast by Blacksher’s defense. Prattville Christian attempted a field goal with 6:21 left in the second quarter but were unsuccessful and had to turn the ball back over to the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs were unsuccessful in making points in their next drive. This left Prattville Christian with 4:25 on the clock to work with to gain points. Prattville Christian took advantage of this time and scored the final touchdown of the half with 3:11 left on the play clock.
At the start of the third quarter the Bulldogs kicked the ball off to Prattville Christian, but after just 1 run attempt, Prattville Christian turned the ball back over to the Bulldogs on an interception which was run back for a 15-yard gain by freshman linebacker and quarterback #3 Lathon Owens. After a 12-play drive the Bulldogs managed to take the football in to the end zone with a 2-yard run from Nettles, and the following extra point attempt was good making the score 15-14 with 5:27 in the third.
Blacksher kicked the ball off to Prattville Christian with the remaining 5:27 on the play clock, but Prattville was unable to do anything with the time, and turned the ball back over to Blacksher at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Blacksher started off the fourth quarter with the ball on their own 35, but after an 11-play drive turned the ball back over to Prattville Christian, which managed to run the clock down and score on their next drive which consisted of 18 plays. The touchdown and extra point attempt were good making the score 22-15 with just 46 seconds left on the clock.
Prattville Christian kicked the ball to the Bulldogs. Nettles wasted no time and returned the ball 58 yards giving the Bulldogs great field position on Prattville Christian’s own 34. Rabb stuck a 34-yard pass with defensive back and wide receiver Tucker who took it in for a touchdown. The Bulldogs attempted a 2-point conversion for the win but failed leaving the score 21-22. Prattville Christian received the ball with 46 seconds on the clock, and they ran the remaining time off of the clock and won the game by one point.
The team was led defensively by junior linebacker and running back #17 Tucker Spence who had 17 tackles. The next two people with the highest tackle count were freshman linebacker and running back JaDaniel Nettles and junior linebacker and running back Jaylin Hunt. Both had 8 tackles each.
The Bulldogs gave up 287 yards passing and only 15 yards running for a total of 302 total given up yards.
Offensively the Bulldogs had 121 yards passing and 30 yards running for a total of 151 yards gained.
Head Coach Wes Sims said that he thought the players’ effort was much better this week than last week and that there is still room to improve both offensively and defensively.
The Bulldogs’ next game is this Friday at 7 p.m., against Cottage Hill at home.
News photo by Gwendolyn Odom