CMS wins Frog Bottom Bowl
On Tuesday night, the Cornersville Middle School Bulldogs capped an undefeated season in perfect fashion by crushing Lauderdale County, AL 48-8 at home in the First Annual Frog Bottom Bowl to finish the 2014 campaign with an 8-0 record.
Having defeated all seven of their previous opponents by two touchdowns or more this season, the Bulldogs continued that trend on Tuesday, as they raced out to a 36-8 lead in the first half before tacking on a couple more TDs over the final two quarters of play to roll to the 40-point victory.
Thanks to Tuesday's triumph, the Bulldogs extended their current winning streak to 12 games and outscored their eight opponents this season by a count of 260-28.
"This is a special accomplishment. We've got a great group of young men. They've only lost one game in two years and I'm just so proud of them," said CMS coach Ray Stocstill. "They've got a lot of talent. They work hard and have speed, strength, and athletic ability. They have a chance to do some big things in high school."
After scoring 30 or more points in five of the seven regular season games, the Bulldogs ran roughshod over another opposing defense and averaged a whopping 15.8 yards per play en route to racking up 300 yards of total offense overall, which included 168 yards rushing on 14 carries.
Attack by air
Cornersville quarterback Eli Woodard hurt the Tigers with his legs and his right arm, as he rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns on six carries, while completing 3-of-5 passes for 132 yards and three TDs.
"We worked on throwing the ball all week. They were bringing people up to stop the run so we threw over top of them and hit some big plays. We did the same thing against Forrest last year," said Stocstill.
Tailback Cameron Whitaker was a major receiving threat out of the backfield and hauled in two passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 30 yards rushing and a TD on three carries. Caleb Crowell also had a 41-yard touchdown reception and Trenton Warren toted the ball five times for 21 yards rushing and a TD.
Lauderdale County, conversely, mustered just 73 yards of total offense against the Bulldogs' stingy defense, which allowed only two offensive touchdowns this season.
"This was our most complete game of the season. Lauderdale County was one of the most talented teams we played this year along with South Lincoln," said Stocstill.
The Tigers tried to establish their running game, but finished with only 55 yards rushing on 23 carries.
Tailback Logan Mangrum paced Lauderdale County with 27 yards rushing on 10 carries, while Byron Hall toted the ball five times for 20 yards.
The Tigers had problems moving the ball through the air, as quarterback Dayne Palmer completed just 3-of-7 passes for 18 yards and a touchdown while tossing one interception.
Warren led Cornersville's defense with 11 tackles from his inside linebacker position. C.J. Coble and Devin Baus recorded six and four tackles for the Bulldogs as well, while Crowell, Woodard, Whitaker, and Ethan Courtemanche each had three tackles. Crowell also recovered a fumble and Woodard notched an interception.
"We didn't have (outside linebacker) Peyton Finch tonight because of an injury and he's an important part of our defense, but we had a lot of other guys step up. Caleb Crowell probably played his best game of the season," said Stocstill.
The Bulldogs set the tone early and put together a five-play, 50-yard scoring drive on their opening possession to grab an 8-0 lead.
Lauderdale County dropped Whitaker for a four-yard loss on the opening play of the series, but Cornersville managed to pick up the first down thanks to a 13-yard run by Woodard and a defensive encroachment penalty on the Tigers. Whitaker then raced 29 yards for a touchdown on a reverse three plays later before Woodard found Warren in the end zone on the two-point conversion try.
The Bulldogs got the ball back on the kickoff when Warren recovered a pooch kick by Diego Bazaldua at the Lauderdale County 42. Cornersville made the Tigers pay for the special teams miscue, as Woodard hit Whitaker for a 40-yard TD strike to give the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Lauderdale appeared to gain their bearings on their ensuing possession and cut the deficit to 14-8 early in the second quarter thanks to a 12-yard touchdown catch by Colby Cox and a two-point conversion run by Mangrum.
Still in charge
The Bulldogs, however, quickly stemmed the Tigers momentum and stretched their lead to 20-8 less than a minute later when Whitaker caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Woodard.
After Cornersville stopped Lauderdale County on downs at the Tiger 42, Crowell hauled in a 37-yard TD pass from Woodard before Woodard connected with Bazaldua in the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt to stretch CMS' lead to 28-8 with 2:12 left in the half.
Things continued to snowball for Lauderdale County, as Crowell recovered a fumble at the Tiger 47 on the kickoff after Slade Brown mishandled another pooch kick by Bazaldua.
Through the D
Woodard then weaved his way through the Lauderdale County defense for a 45-yard touchdown run three plays later before Whitaker ran in the two-point conversion to stake the Bulldogs to a 36-8 advantage at the break.
After the Tigers punted on their opening possession of the second half, Cornersville stretched their lead to 42-8 lead midway through the fourth quarter when Woodard broke loose for a 41-yard touchdown jaunt.
Woodard made another big play early in the fourth quarter by picking off a Palmer pass and returning it 45 yards to set the Bulldogs up at the Lauderdale County 10. Warren then scored on a 10-yard TD run to cap the Bulldogs 48-8 victory.