Priceville finishes season strong
Joe Holmes, Enquirer Correspondent
CLEVELAND – Three weeks of frustration burst forth Friday night in a 358-yard offensive onslaught that gave the Priceville Bulldogs win number four of the season courtesy of a 42-14 thrashing of home-standing Cleveland.
Priceville scored at will during the first half, building a commanding 28-0 halftime margin. Head coach Marty Chambers substituted freely in the second half, gaining valuable experience for next season.
"We had a good effort tonight," Chambers said. "We were able to take control early and get some points on the board. Defensively we did a good job keeping them out of the end zone."
Priceville won the toss and deferred to the second half, but wound up with the football at the Cleveland 31-yard line when the Panthers fumbled the opening kickoff.
Senior quarterback Hunter Teague plunged in from the 3-yard line to draw first blood and set the tone for the evening. Brad Helton's first of five extra points split the uprights to put the visitors up 7-0 with 8:43 left in the first.
Helton would score the next Bulldog points on a reverse from nine yards out at the 7:30 mark of the second quarter. The extra point made the score 14-0.
Priceville took advantage of a muffed punt by Cleveland to set up the third score of the evening. Teague picked up his second touchdown on a 14-yard jaunt to run the Bulldogs' advantage to 21-0.
With just over a minute left in the first half and facing fourth-and four at its own 28 yard line, Cleveland opted to go for the first down instead of punting the ball away. Priceville's defense held, giving the Bulldog offense the ball deep in Panther territory.
On perhaps the best call of the season, junior quarterback Will Stevens faked the handoff to workhorse Teague, then took the naked bootleg in himself from 28 yards out. Helton again added the extra point to put Priceville firmly in control 28-0.
The second half started in similar fashion with Eli Allen scoring on a 33-yard scamper just three minutes into the third quarter. Helton's boot made it 35-0.
Cleveland picked up its first of two scores on a two-yard run by Parker Nelson with 3:53 left in the third.
Priceville answered on its next possession. Teague rambled to the 35 yard-line ensuing kickoff, then found Will Halbrooks with a pass over the middle. Trevor Maxwell picked up a key first down on the series, and J.R. Westmoreland capitalized with a 1-yard run with 11:05 left in the final period for a 42-7 lead.
Cleveland rounded out the evening's scoring with a 44-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Stephen Johnson with 8:36 left in the game.
Teague led the balanced Priceville ground game with 114 yards on 16 carries. Allen followed with 78 yards on 10 carries. Westmoreland picked up 46 yards on 7 carries and Maxwell added 24 yards on six carries.
Stevens was two-of-two passing for 35 yards. Both passes went to tight end Halbrooks. The Bulldogs picked up 14 first downs en route to amassing 358 yards of total offense.
Helton was called on for only one punt, a 43-yard effort. He was a perfect five-of-five on extra points.
The Bulldogs close out the 2005 campaign Friday night at West Limestone.