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Hartselle Enquirer

Defense, special teams key Bulldog win over Rebels

Benjamin Maxwell
Special to the Enquirer

The Priceville Bulldogs (1-0) kicked off the 2012 season against their 3A neighbors West Morgan (0-1) under the Priceville lights on Thursday. After an unsteady start the Bulldogs downed West Morgan with a decisive 36-20 victory.

“We played hard,” said Priceville head coach Dirk Strunk. “Our defense and special teams kept us in the game. Our defensive coordinator has done a great job. We’ll take the win any way we can get it.”

Priceville senior running back Forrest Clemons stepped up in the opening drive of his final season as a Bulldog, with the help of his offensive front Clemons had four consecutive carries for two first downs. However, a bobbled snap led to a Priceville turnover.

West Morgan senior running back Demetrius Warren drove down the field to turn the first Priceville mistake into a touchdown giving the Rebels a 7-0 lead.

It did not take the Bulldogs long to answer back as senior Nick Bell returned the following kickoff for a 90-yard return for a touchdown. Bell’s extra point attempt failed leaving the Bulldogs trailing 7-6 heading into the second quarter.

With 10:55 remaining until halftime, Priceville’s special teams struck again with junior Benjamin Patterson returning the Rebels’ punt for another Bulldog touchdown. Bell’s successful point-after attempt put Priceville up with a 13-7 lead.

“Our special teams did great. It is always great to have our kick and punt returners scoring,” Strunk said.

The Rebels’ powerful running game wasn’t done yet as Warren carried for an 80-yard touchdown run on the following drive sending the Rebel’s back on top with a 14-13 lead.

A 40-yard carry by senior Frank Jones on the ensuing drive setup a 27-yard Bell field goal giving the Bulldogs a 16-14 lead. West Morgan answered back with a promising drive with four straight first down runs. However, Priceville’s Patterson turned a West Morgan error into a 95-yard fumble return for a touchdown giving the Bulldogs a 23-14 lead heading into halftime.

Priceville’s defense continued to dominate in the second half holding the Rebels scoreless through the third quarter.

The Bulldogs continued to build on their lead with a touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Kaleb Barker to Frank Jones. Another failed extra-point attempt left the Bulldogs with a 29-14 lead. The following Priceville drive, quarterback Barker carried the ball for a six-yard touchdown. Bell’s extra-point put the Bulldogs up 36-14.

“In the second half our offense started to wake up,” said Strunk. “The fact that we didn’t have anyone going both ways really helped us.”

Both defenses held through the fourth quarter, but a last second effort by West Morgan provided freshman John Kirby with a 64-yard touchdown carry as time expired. Despite the last second lapse the Bulldogs maintained a 36-20 victory over the West Morgan Rebels.

“West Morgan played a great game,” said Strunk. “Coach Saint has done a great job. We have a long season ahead of us. We have to work hard and continue to get better. I’m proud of our kids. Our young kids stepped up in their first varisty game. We still have a long way to go.”

Priceville will now prepare for their next test as they will welcome Rogers High school to their home turf Sept. 7. West Morgan will hit the road again, this time heading to Clements High school on the same day.

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