Bulldogs take care of scuffling Hawks
Joe Holmes, Enquirer Correspondent
Priceville used a balanced offensive attack, big special teams plays and a stingy defensive effort to best cross-county rival Danville 21-12 Friday night.
"Big win," said head coach Marty Chambers, dripping from a post-game Gatorade-drenching courtesy of the Bulldogs. "It feels great to have won two in a row. We just have to keep working hard and getting a little better each week."
Chambers pointed to Priceville's special teams play as one of the determining factors.
"We had the huge kickoff return to swing the momentum back in our favor after they scored," he said. "Plus we were able to pin them deep on a couple of very good punts."
Danville appeared poised to control the line of scrimmage for the evening when the Hawks took their second possession and drove 66 yards on nine plays. On fourth-and-goal from the 2, junior John Dalton pushed it in on a strong second effort to put the visitors up 6-0 as the second quarter got underway. The extra point was no good.
It took just seven ticks of the clock for Priceville to answer. Aaron Sawyer took the ensuing kickoff and rambled 82 yards to put six on the board for the Bulldogs. Brad Helton's extra point gave Priceville a 7-6 lead with 11:42 left in the second.
Sawyer recovered a Danville fumble on the next Hawk drive to put the Bulldog offense back in business at midfield. Hunter Teague slithered his way through the Hawk defense for 15 yards and Helton picked up 19 more to push the ball inside the 10.
Will Stevens came in to hit J.R. Westmoreland from five yards out with 8:37 left in the second and Helton's extra point put the home team up 14-6.
Matt Eubanks and Trevor Maxwell turned in key defensive efforts on the next Hawk series, forcing a Danville punt that rolled dead at the Priceville 12. The teams would continue to trade punts as halftime neared, but the Bulldogs weren't quite finished.
Starting at the Priceville 37, Teague picked up 13 yards and Maxwell added nine to set up a second-and-one play from the 41. Teague kept the ball and split the middle, breaking four tackles and leaving a host of Danville defenders in his wake as he bulldozed 41 yards for the score. Helton was perfect on this third extra point to put the home team up 21-6 with just 1:28 left in the half.
Danville looked to turn the momentum back in its favor as the third quarter began when Tyree Murphy stepped in front of Teague's pass and returned it into the red zone before being chased out-of-bounds by John Miller.
The Hawks turned to Dalton on first-and-goal but he was met by Eli Allen and Logan Cahill for no gain.
Jayson Hamilton and Jonathon Hopkins sacked Danville quarterback Casey Wilson for a 10-yard loss on third down and Sawyer ended the Danville threat with an interception on fourth-and-goal.
After swapping punts, Danville was forced to punt after Wes Long and Brad Clark stopped Dalton on a third-and-12 call. However, Priceville fumbled the Hawk punt and Danville took over at the Priceville 24.
From there it was Wilson to Murphy for nine yards to set up Dalton's 1-yard plunge at the 11:45 mark of the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion failed and the score stood at Priceville 21, Danville 12.
Danville held the Bulldogs on the next drive, but Helton's punt pinned the visitors at their own 4-yard line. Danville used the Wilson-Murphy connection to move the ball to midfield, but Jeremy Holloway ended the threat when he fell on a Hawk fumble.
Teague led the Bulldogs with 106 yards on nine carries. He was also 4-of-6 for 92 yards passing. Stevens was 1-of-1 for five yards and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs ran up 268 yards of offense on the evening and picked up nine first downs. Helton punted three times for a 35-yard average.
Danville had 40 rushes for 94 yards and picked up 76 yards on 5-of-17 passing. The Hawks had a total of 170 yards offense and picked up 13 first downs. John Dalton picked up both Danville touchdowns on the ground.
It's homecoming this week at Priceville. The Bulldogs entertain Cold Springs Friday night at 7 p.m.