CMS Bulldogs down Eagles

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
CMS tailback Cameron Whitaker (15) breaks the tackle attempt of South Lincoln's Cade Cooper (5) during a 22-yard run in the second quarter. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

Although Cornersville Middle School saw their season long shutout streak come to an end on Thursday night, the Bulldogs managed to keep their record unblemished, as they defeated the South Lincoln Eagles 20-8 at home to improve to 4-0.

CMS built a 12-0 lead in the first half thanks to a pair of touchdown passes by quarterback Eli Woodard before tacking on another TD midway through the fourth quarter to open up a 20-0 advantage.

No major worries

Cornersville's defense yielded their first points of the season a few moments later when South Lincoln wide out Rudy Cooper caught a 64-yard pass from quarterback Deven Hudgins, but the Bulldogs held the Eagles scoreless the rest of the way to run their current winning streak to eight games.

"South Lincoln has a good team, but we weren't that worried about losing because our bunch is real physical and I thought we out hit them," said CMS coach Ray Stocstill. "This group has a lot of talent and I'm really excited to see what this team does when they get to high school."

Despite giving up three long pass plays, the Bulldogs limited the Eagles to just 159 yards of total offense, which included only 20 yards rushing on 19 carries, while forcing four South Lincoln turnovers.

Trenton Warren (44) rumbles downfield for a 15-yard gain in the first quarter against South Lincoln.

Safety Caleb Crowell led CMS' defensive effort, as he recorded six tackles, two interceptions and a sack. C.J. Coble and Trenton Warren also registered six tackles apiece with Coble notching a sack and Warren recovering a fumble. Devin Baus, Woodard , Ethan Courtemanche, and Peyton Finch each tallied three tackles for the Bulldogs as well with Baus recording a sack and Woodard recovering a fumble.

Fullback Tucker Webb was the lone South Lincoln ball carrier to gain positive yardage and rushed for 25 yards on five carries.

Bulldog stats

Hudgins completed 5-of-11 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown, but tossed two interceptions. Ben Bassham also saw time at quarterback for the Eagles and completed just 2-of-5 passes for two yards. Cooper was South Lincoln's leading receiver and caught three passes for 99 yards.

The Bulldogs also had trouble moving the ball consistently and finished with a season low 151 yards from scrimmage overall while committing one turnover. Cornersville once again leaned on their ground game and churned out 107 yards rushing on 34 yards.

Tailback Cameron Whitaker was the Bulldogs' main offensive weapon, as he rushed for 56 yards on 12 carries and hauled in two passes for 41 yards and two TDs. Trent Warren toted the ball nine times for 46 yards as well, while Woodard added a two-yard touchdown run.

Hindered by a couple of drops from his receiving corps, Woodard completed only 3-of-9 passes for 44 yards and two touchdowns to go along with one interception.

Gamble fails

Cornersville was caught off guard at the start of the game, as Hudgins recovered a South Lincoln onside kick attempt at the CMS 49. The Eagles were unable to cash in on the successful special teams gamble and lost the ball on downs at their own 42 after being called for a holding penalty on the second play of the drive.

CMS linebacker C.J. Coble (62) makes a touchdown saving tackle on South Lincoln fullback Tucker Webb (44) in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs capitalized on the favorable field position and found pay dirt seven plays later to grab a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter. After Cornersville gained nine yards on three straight runs, Warren rumbled for 15 yards on 4th and 1 to move the ball to the 18. The Bulldogs lost two yards on their next two plays, but Woodard hit Whitaker for a 19-yard touchdown strike. On the two-point conversion attempt, the Eagles stopped Woodard short of the goal line to keep the deficit at six.

Crowell set up Cornersville with good field position again at the start of the second quarter by picking off a pass by Hudgins at the South Lincoln 46. The Bulldogs converted the turnover into points nine plays later when Whitaker hauled in a 22-yard TD pass from Woodard to give CMS a 12-0 advantage with 3:01 left in the second quarter.

Threat ends

South Lincoln appeared they might cut into the deficit late on their ensuing possession when they advanced down to the Cornersville 13 thanks to receptions of 30 and 34 yards by Cooper and Austin Hines respectively.

The Bulldog defense, however, bowed it's neck, as the Eagles picked up two yards on their next two plays before Crowell sacked Hudgins for a nine-yard loss to put South Lincoln in a 4th and 17 predicament. Coble and Whitaker then dropped Hudgins for a 23-yard loss on 4th down after the ball was snapped over Hudgins head.

Although Cornersville had a 65-yard touchdown catch by Whitaker wiped out by an illegal shift penalty in the waning moments of the first half, the Bulldogs stopped South Lincoln on their first three drives of the second half before Woodard scored on a two-yard TD run with 4:42 left in the fourth quarter. Woodard then found Warren in the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt to stretch CMS' lead to 20-0.

Eagles score

Hudgins finally got the Eagles on the board on their next offensive series when he hooked up with Cooper for a 64-yard touchdown pass after lining up at wide out and catching a lateral from Bassham. Webb then caught the two-point conversion pass from Hudgins to whittle the deficit to 20-8 with 4:23 left in the game.

Cornersville went three and out on their next two drives, but cemented the victory by forcing two South Lincoln turnovers thanks to a Warren fumble recovery and an interception by Crowell to claim the 12-point victory.