Mt. Pleasant outguns Bulldogs

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Cornersville's Stone Riner cuts upfield while returning a kickoff in the first quarter against Mt. Pleasant. Photo by Pap

The Cornersville Bulldogs (2-2, 1-1 District) had their modest two-game winning streak snapped on Friday night, as they suffered a 53-21 loss to a brash and athletic Mt. Pleasant Tiger squad at home.

Aided by a pair of early CHS turnovers, Mt. Pleasant (3-2, 2-0 District) scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions to jump out to a 21-0 lead late in the first quarter.

After narrowing the gap to 21-7 midway through the second quarter thanks to a one-yard touchdown plunge by tailback Zach Small, the Bulldogs forced the Tigers to punt, but were stopped on downs at the Mt. Pleasant 28 on their next offensive series.

The Tigers then opened up a 28-7 advantage on their ensuing possession when quarterback Princeton Harlan scored on a 14-yard touchdown jaunt on the final play of the first half.

Things quickly got worse for Cornersville after the break, as Mt. Pleasant scored touchdowns on their first two drives of the second half to forge a 41-7 lead midway through the third quarter.

The Bulldogs trimmed the deficit to 41-14 on the strength of a four-yard touchdown scamper by quarterback Hayden McMahon, but Mt. Pleasant pushed their lead to 47-14 a few moments later when tailback Corey Webster broke loose for a 55-yard TD run with 4:26 remaining in the third quarter.

Cornersville closed the gap to 47-21 on a 6-yard touchdown run by Josh Singleton with :15 left in the fourth quarter before Jordan Mayberry returned the kickoff 91 yards for a score as time expired in the game to cap the Tigers' 32-point victory.

Mt. Pleasant's edge in team speed was evident throughout the game, as the Tigers recorded 10 plays of 25 or more yards en route to finishing with 516 yards of total offense.

Tiger quarterback Princeton Harlan, who is garnering interest from some Division I schools, improved his resume by completing 13-of-20 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns.

Wide out Ken'Yores Smith was Harlan's primary target and hauled in eight passes for 158 yards and a touchdown. DaVonte Webster also had four receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown, while Walter Crawford added a 42-yard touchdown catch.

"The early turnovers did hurt us, but they're so much more athletic than we are at the skill positions," said CHS coach Ray Stocstill. "We had them covered sometimes, but then we stopped running or they just out jumped our guys for the ball. They were just a little more than we could handle."

Although the Bulldog defense recorded 14 tackles for loss, Mt. Pleasant still tallied 188 yards rushing on 31 carries thanks to a handful of long runs. Corey Webster led the Tigers' ground game with 68 yards and two touchdowns on five carries, while Harlan toted the ball eight times for 42 yards and two touchdowns. Smith also rushed for 30 yards on three carries, and Crawford tallied 29 yards on six carries.

Cornersville was unable to get into a grove offensively and finished with a season low 269 yards from scrimmage, which included 165 yards rushing on 40 carries.

Small paced the Bulldogs' rushing attack with 65 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, and Chance Dyer toted the pigskin nine times for 51 yards. Singleton also picked up 26 yards on three carries while McMahon and Jamie Crowell each rushed for 12 yards on five and two carries respectively.

"We felt like we could run the ball on them and we did have some success, but once we fell behind we had to go away from it," said Stocstill.

Hindered by several dropped passes, McMahon completed 11-of-21 passes for 97 yards. Crowell also attempted three passes, completing two for seven yards.

Stone Riner caught six passes for 63 yards to lead CHS' receiving corps, while Justin Black had four receptions for 20 yards. Nick Groves chipped in two catches for 16 yards and Cody Blackburn snared one pass for five yards.

Black and Dyer paced the Bulldog defense with 10 and eight tackles respectively, while Crowell and Devante Spencer each notched five tackles. Jacob Griffis also tallied four tackles and Cody Coblentz had three tackles with both players registering half a sack. Singleton recovered a fumble for CHS as well.

Cornersville returns to action this Friday when they travel to Chapel Hill to take on county rival Forrest at 7:00 p.m.