Friday night’s matchup between Virgin Valley High School and Sports Leadership and Management (SLAM) was like watching two games in one as each team controlled one half of play. The first half of the game belonged to SLAM, as they took advantage of poor execution on the part of the Bulldogs. T
he Dawgs miscues, mental errors and penalties pretty much were their demise. The Dawgs had three touchdowns called back because of breakdowns in their blocking techniques.
The Bulldogs put themselves in a hole early, beginning with the kickoff.
The Bulldogs fumbled the ball setting up a first and ten from the 5 yard marker. Three plays later the Dawgs found themselves in punt formation, the center snap went high over the punters head setting up a Bull first and goal from the Dawgs 6 yard line. Bull quarterback Joseph Kuykendall took it in from there giving the Bulls a 7-0 lead after two minutes of play.
The Dawgs went three and out on their next possession forcing a punt to the Bulls 13 yard line. The Bulls marched to the Dawgs 42 yard line before a penalty and two sacks sent them back to their 48
yard line with a third and 29 for a first down. The Bulldogs broke defense broke down and allowed the Bulls deep back to get to the outside and scoot 52 yards for a touchdown. The point after was good giving the Bulls a 14-0 advantage with 1:55 remaining in the first period.
The Dawgs receivers ran into each other on the ensuing kickoff setting up the Dawgs on their 19 yard line.
The period ended with the Dawgs driving to their 48 yard line. The Bulldogs continued play with 5 total first downs to the Bulls 15 yard line. Bulldog quarterback Gavin Brown’s end zone pass flew high giving the ball back to the Bulls. The drive ate up nine minutes with no points to show for it. The Dawgs were in a position to force a three and out on the Bulls, but a personal foul call on the Dawgs gave the Bulls an automatic first down on their 46 yard line. The Dawgs defense stiffened and forced a fourth and two for a first down. Kuykendall managed a 5 yard pass setting up a first down keeper for 30 yards and a score upping the Bulls lead to 21-0 with 1:30 remaining in the first half of play. Bulldog Kellen Dugan took the Bulls kickoff down the sidelines for a 65 yard T.D. which was called back by hold on the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs gave the ball back to SLAM on an interception basically ending the first half.
The Dawgs held the Bulls on their first possession of the second half.
The Dawgs began their first drive from their 31 yard line and proceeded to drive down field to the four-yard line. Bulldog Brown hit Jim Kelley on fourth down for the Dawgs first T.D. of the game making the score 21-7 in favor of the Bulls. The Bulldog defense stiffened and forced a Bull punt attempt. The snap was high giving the Dawgs a first down on the Bulls 44 yard line. Two plays later, Dugan ran it 32 yards for a score but a block in the back penalty negated the T.D. The Dawgs managed to drive to the Bulls 30 yard line but the drive was shut down. SLAM fumbled on their possession giving the Dawgs a first down on the 31 yard line. Brown hit Kelley over the middle for a 12 yard T.D., cutting the Bulls lead to 21-14, with 8:35 left on the game clock. The Dawgs forced a Bulls a Bulls field goal attempt that sailed left turning the ball over to the Dawgs. The Bulldogs had one more attempt to tie the game, but a holding call negated a 37 T.D. pass from Brown to Benson Jensen.
The Bulls finished the Dawgs off with a game saving interception.
Bulldogs Brown went 19-28 for 155 yard and Dugan ran for 105 yards on 18 attempts to lead the Dawgs. “Mistakes and mental errors killed us,” said Bulldog head coach Matt Woods. “We need to eliminate them before our league opener next week against Rancho. I hope to put up a stronger defense against a big Rancho team.”