CMS Bulldogs rally past Riverside Christian
On Thursday, the Cornersville Middle School Bulldogs picked up their fourth win of the season when they defeated the Riverside Christian Academy Knights 36-32 on Homecoming after overcoming a 10-point halftime deficit.
Cornersville (4-3) had beaten the Knights 28-20 earlier in the season, but the Knights got the better of CMS in the first half and held an 18-8 lead through the first two quarters of play.
The Bulldogs, however, saw their offense catch fire after the break and scored four touchdowns in a span of eight minutes to seize a 36-24 advantage early in the fourth quarter before hanging on for the four-point victory.
"We drew a line in the sand at halftime and I told them that I had never lost a Homecoming game before and didn't want to start now. They responded well and we won," said CMS coach Eric Crabtree.
Bolstered by their second half offensive surge, the Bulldogs finished with 340 yards from scrimmage overall, which included 333 yards rushing on 37 carries.
Although he completed just one-of-three passes for seven yards and an interception, Cornersville quarterback Kolbe McMahon had a huge night running the ball and rushed for 311 yards and five touchdowns on 30 carries.
"We almost expect Kolbe to have performances like this. I know that's a lot of pressure to put on him, but he's done it all year," said Crabtree. "If anyone has put a team on his back, he did it tonight."
Dakota Polk also added 22 yards rushing on three carries for CMS, while Austin Ridinger had one catch for seven yards.
The Knights tallied 315 yards of total offense, but committed four turnovers, including three in the second half.
Cornersville's defense did a respectable job against the run and limited RCA to 114 yards rushing on 25 carries.
Logan Crabtree paced the Knights ground game with 44 yards and a touchdown on six carries, while Garrett Gleghorn toted the ball eight times for 28 yards. Fullback Jacob Anderson also chipped in 21 yards and a touchdown on seven carries for RCA.
With both of Cornersville's starting cornerbacks unable to play due injuries, Riverside Christian burned CMS several times through the air, as quarterback Eli Wright completed 12-of-19 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns, while Logan Crabtree hit Luke Eakes for a 19-yard touchdown on his lone pass attempt.
Logan Crabtree and Anderson each hauled in five passes for 86 and 62 yards respectively with Crabtree scoring a touchdown. Gleghorn also caught two passes for 34 yards and a TD.
Cody Owens led the Bulldog defense with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery, while Adam Qualls and McMahon recorded 10 tackles apiece. Phillip Stampfly, Brock Powers, and Chris Smith each recovered a fumble as well with Powers notching five tackles.
The Bulldogs got off to a quick start and marched 49 yards to pay dirt in four plays on their opening possession to grab an 8-0 lead. After McMahon ripped off consecutive runs of 11 and 26 yards, Stampfly picked up five yards to move the ball down the Knight 7. McMahon then scored on a seven-yard TD run before hitting Austin Hanntz in the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt.
RCA narrowed the gap to 8-6 late in the first quarter when Logan Crabtree rumbled into the end zone from eight yards out to cap a nine-play, 35-yard touchdown drive, but failed to convert the two-point conversion attempt.
The Knights then recovered a Bulldog fumble at their own 45 before Wright hooked up with Logan Crabtree for a 29-yard touchdown pass five plays later to put RCA up 12-8 early in the second quarter.
After intercepting a McMahon pass and returning the ball to the RCA 44, Wright hit Gleghorn for a 28-yard touchdown strike to stretch the Knights' lead to 18-8 with 2:56 left in the first half.
Cornersville came up empty on their final two drives of the first half, but Stampfly shifted the momentum in the Bulldogs' favor at the start of the third quarter when he recovered a fumble by Logan Crabtree at the RCA 34.
McMahon then broke loose for a 34-yard touchdown jaunt on the next play prior to running in the two-point conversion to slice the deficit to 18-16.
On the ensuing kickoff, Eakes mishandled the ball and Smith pounced on the pigskin to give CMS possession at the Knight 46.
McMahon then scampered for a 21-yard touchdown three plays later before Will Vanhooser ran in the two-point conversion to stake Cornersville to a 24-18 lead with 6:43 left in the third quarter.
RCA tied the game on a one-yard touchdown plunge by Anderson midway through the third quarter, but Wright fumbled the snap on the two-point conversion try to keep the game tied at 24-24.
The Bulldogs mounted an immediate response and put together a nine-play, 50-yard touchdown drive, punctuated by an eight-yard TD run by McMahon on 4th and goal, to pull ahead 30-24 late in the third quarter.
Although Cornersville missed the two-point conversion attempt, Owens recovered a fumble by Wright a few moments later to give CMS the ball at their own 45.
McMahon then raced 52 yards for a touchdown on the Bulldogs' ensuing possession to push CMS' lead to 36-24 with 7:48 left in the fourth quarter.
On the Knights' next offensive series, Logan Crabtree found Eakes for a 19-yard touchdown on a halfback pass before catching the two-point conversion throw from Wright to slice the deficit to 36-32 with 4:34 left.
The Bulldogs, however, burned the remaining time off the clock by picking up three first downs on nine straight running plays to hold on for the victory.