Bulldogs come back to defeat West Limestone
Joe Holmes, Enquirer Correspondent
LESTER – It's a pretty sure bet that 20 years from now, when the seniors of Priceville High School's 2005 graduating class gather for their class reunion, they will still be talking about "the game."
No, it wasn't for a state championship. It didn't even pull the '05 'Dogs above .500 for the year. But Friday night's classic come-from-behind, last second, cardiac-inducing win over West Limestone may well go down as the turning point for the future of the Priceville gridiron program.
Down two touchdowns to West Limestone, Priceville mounted two fourth-quarter touchdown drives to snatch its fifth win of the season 28-24 over the Wildcats. The final score came on a 35-yard heave from senior quarterback Hunter Teague to wide out Aaron Sawyer for the game-winner with just 49 seconds left.
"What a way to end the year," head coach Marty Chambers said. "I was very proud for our seniors. They have worked extremely hard and set the example of our younger kids coming up."
Chambers reflected on the Bulldogs' 5-5 campaign, noting that Priceville was in all but one game.
"We had a chance to win almost every week," he said. "A few key plays here and there and we could have easily picked up a couple of more wins.
"We were competitive all year and that says a lot for where the program is right now. Hopefully we will continue to work hard during the off-season and keep improving next year as well."
West Limestone looked determined to hand the Bulldogs their sixth loss on the year. D'Angelo Pride hit Jud Meadows with a 25-yard halfback pass with 3:39 left in the first quarter. The 7-0 lead didn't hold for long, though, as Priceville answered on its next possession with a 70-yard touchdown sprint by Brad Helton through the heart of the Wildcat defense.
The game remained knotted for most of the second quarter until West Limestone's Michael Tucker hit Josh Burks with a 42-yard touchdown pass with 3:09 left until the half.
Needing to shift the momentum back in their favor, the Bulldogs went to work and took advantage of a roughing-the-passer call against the Wildcats to set up a second-and-seven call from the 14-yard line with only five seconds left.
Teague rolled to his left and threw against his body to Sawyer, who made a diving catch in the back of the end zone to post six for the 'Dogs as time expired. Helton's extra point tied the game at 14.
West Limestone picked up three points on a 29-yard field goal by Tucker with 5:00 remaining in the third and added seven more on a 8-yard touchdown pass from Wesley Hughes to Jeremy White.
That put the West Limestone lead at 24-14 as the fourth quarter got underway. Determined to put themselves in a position to win, the Bulldogs methodically moved the ball 55 yards in five plays behind the running of Trevor Maxwell and Teague.
Teague capped the drive with a 9-yard run with 8:31 left in the season to cut the deficit to 24-21.
The Priceville defense held the Wildcats behind the play of Jeremy Holloway, Will Halbrooks and a host of other Bulldog defenders. On fourth-and-eight, West Limestone punted the ball back to the Bulldogs at the 22-yard line.
One could almost hear Jerry Reed singing "A Long Way to Go and a Short Time To Get There," as the Bulldogs looked at 88 yards between them and win number five and just 2:48 to get the job done.
Managing the clock like a seasoned veteran, Teague picked up two first downs as he was forced out of the pocket and dove out-of-bounds to stop the clock.
In at tailback, Teague took the pitch from Will Stevens, then fired the ball cross-field to Stevens for a 20-yard gain.
Teague picked up 11 yards for a first down, then eight more to set up a second-and-two call from the 35. From there he connected again with a diving Sawyer, who hauled in the go-ahead score. Helton's fourth extra point put the Bulldogs up 28-24 with just 49 seconds left.
Lonnie Sutton sealed the win with an interception to end the game and the season with a Bulldog victory.