Bulldogs rout E. Robertson
Coming off a much needed bye week, the Cornersville Bulldogs (3-6) put that extra preparation time to good use on Friday night when they traveled to Cross Plains and thrashed the East Robertson Indians 40-14 to notch their second straight victory.
Cornersville had defeated East Robertson 30-22 last year and appeared to be in store for another hard fought game with the Indians (1-8) on Friday after the two teams battled to a 7-7 tie late in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs, however, dominated the contest from that point on, as they scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes of the first half to take a 21-7 lead before reaching the end zone on their first three drives of the second half to forge a 40-7 advantage en route to claiming the 26-point win.
"I think the bye week helped a lot. It allowed us to prepare more for this game and get healed up. We had some really good practices this week and that showed tonight," said CHS coach John Denton.
Despite being penalized 10 times for 95 yards, Cornersville outgained the Indians 433-211 overall. The Bulldogs ran the ball at will for much of the night and racked up 328 yards rushing while averaging 8.6 yards per carry.
Senior tailback Chance Dyer spearheaded the Bulldogs' ground assault by rushing for a season high 235 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. Thanks to Friday's performance, Dyer eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark this season and has now rushed for 1,231 yards during the 2014 campaign.
Freshman Kolbe McMahon also toted the ball seven times for 73 yards and a TD, while Andrew Brady added 14 yards on four carries.
Through the air
With Cornersville's running game operating smoothly, quarterback Jamie Crowell attempted only 12 passes, completing six for 105 yards and two touchdowns.
McMahon provided the Bulldogs' receiving corps with a much needed vertical threat and hauled in two passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns.
"Kolbe continues to learn. He makes some freshman mistakes, but he gives a lot of effort. He's getting better each week and is taking some of the pressure off of Jamie and Chance," said Denton.
Justin Black hauled in three passes for 17 yards as well, while Zack Welch had one catch for five yards and returned two kickoffs for 75 yards.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, stopped East Robertson's ground game in its tracks and limited the Indians to just 91 yards rushing on 31 carries.
"We stunted our linebackers a lot. We usually don't blitz all of our linebackers, but we saw some things on film that we thought that we could exploit so we shot all the gaps and played man coverage in the secondary," said Denton.
Tailback Brenden Moore paced East Robertson with 32 yards on 15 carries, while Hunter Keen toted the ball three times for 31 yards and a touchdown.
The Indians also struggled throwing the ball, as four different players combined to complete 7-of-19 passes overall. Starting quarterback Andrew Tobitt was East Robertson's most effective passer and completed 7-of-12 attempts for 120 yards and a touchdown while tossing one interception. Logan Seay was Tobitt's favorite target and snared four passes for 96 yards and a TD.
Dyer led Cornersville's defense with 12 tackles from his outside linebacker spot and Justin Black recorded seven tackles and an interception. Cayde Fitzgerald also notched six tackles, while Blake Tomlin and Trevor Green registered five tackles apiece. Welch and Curt Taylor each tallied four tackles for the Bulldogs as well and Ben Taylor had three tackles and a sack.
After forcing a three and out by East Robertson to start the game, Cornersville caught a break when Indian punter Bryan Shetley shanked the kick and saw the ball roll dead at the Indian 28.
The Bulldogs, though, were unable to take advantage of the excellent field position and lost the ball on downs at the 23 after being flagged for an illegal motion penalty to start the drive.
East Robertson came up empty on their next two possessions before Cornersville grabbed a 7-0 lead with 8:22 left in the second quarter when Crowell hit McMahon on a deep post route for a 53-yard touchdown strike while Ben Taylor tacked on the extra point.
The Bulldogs lead would prove to be short lived, as Seay caught a short pass from Tobitt and raced 60 yards for a touchdown on the Indians' ensuing drive after shedding a couple of CHS tacklers.
Welch, though, quickly swung the momentum backs towards Cornersville's sideline by returning the ensuing kickoff 64 yards to the East Robertson 21. The Bulldogs cashed in on the favorable field position this time around and took a 14-7 lead four plays later when Dyer bulled his way into the end zone from four yards out.
Following another Indian punt, Cornersville ran their two-minute drill to perfection and marched 53 yards to pay dirt in four plays to open up a 21-7 advantage with :47 left in the half.
Dyer ripped off a 12-yard run to start the drive before Crowell scampered for 11 yards. Crowell then hooked up with McMahon for a 30-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline two plays later.
After holding East Robertson scoreless on their final possession of the first half, the Bulldogs began to put their foot on the Indians' throat in the third quarter and engineered a seven-play, 56-yard touchdown drive on their opening possession of the stanza that was capped by a Dyer seven-yard TD run to stretch their lead to 27-7.
East Robertson had a chance to cut into the deficit after Moore returned the kickoff 49 yards to the CHS 29, but the Bulldogs' defense bowed their necks in the red zone and stopped the Indians on downs at the eight-yard line.
Cornersville then delivered the knockout blow to the Indians by putting together a 10-play, 92-yard drive, punctuated by a McMahon two-yard touchdown run, to push their lead to 34-7 early in the fourth quarter.
Things quickly got worse for East Robertson, as Black intercepted a Shetley pass and returned it 22 yards to the Indian 10 before Dyer dove into the end zone from a yard out four plays later to make it 40-7 with 8:02 left.
East Robertson finally found the end zone again on their next possession when Keen scored on a 22-yard touchdown run for the 40-14 final.