Bulldogs let one slip away

Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Kolbe McMahon (12) comes out of the group of players with the ball and heads downfield for a 61-yard touchdown. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

Cornersville needed a win Friday night and the task was tough enough, going on the road to Mt. Pleasant where they hadn't won since 2002.

Three costly turnovers and a bevy of bad snaps from center cost the Bulldogs in crucial situations that led to a 28-21 loss.

It wasn't for a lack of effort because Cornersville never gave up under tough circumstances, coming back twice in the game after trailing.

"Mistakes will cost you the ballgame every time," Cornersville coach Gerard Randolph said. "You can't do that against a team like Mt. Pleasant because they have the athletes that can change the game at any time and that's what happened."

Unpleasant score

Mt. Pleasant won the coin toss and elected to receive and got some help on good field position when the opening kickoff went out of bounds.

The Tigers put together a long drive that ate seven minutes off the clock with the big play coming on a fourth-and-43 play when pass interference was called on the Bulldogs.

A couple of plays later, Walter Crawford caught a 48-yard touchdown pass from Lorenzo Brown to open the scoring. The PAT was no good at the 5:04 mark of the first quarter.

The Bulldogs were unable to sustain a drive and had to punt, but their defense held the Tigers too, forcing them to punt with 11:34 remaining in the second quarter.

Tigers take it in

Peyton Williams busts his way into the end zone for a touchdown in the first quarter for the Bulldogs, who lost 28-21 at Mt. Pleasant Friday night.

Cornersville got things going on offense in its ensuing series, starting with a couple of nice runs before quarterback Eli Woodard found Peyton Finch on a crossing route over the middle and the freshman tight end rumbled down to the Mt. Pleasant 1-yard line where Peyton Williams took it in for the score two plays later.

The Bulldogs celebrate after coming up with an onside kick in the second quarter.

After a missed PAT, Cornersville took advantage of its new found momentum, surprising Mt. Pleasant with an onside kick and it worked when Shelby Luna pounced on the football at the Tigers' 40-yard line.

The Bulldogs ran the football a few times and Woodard completed a pass to McMahon, but the Tigers gave Cornersville two big chunks of yards on a pair of personal foul penalties.

The Bulldogs had the ball at the home team's 7-yard line, but three consecutive running plays would not produce a TD and Cornersville lined up for a field goal.

Cornersville's Peyton Finch grabs a pass in the second quarter and heads to the 1-yard line.

Trick works

Trickery was the call by Randolph as McMahon took the direct snap and headed for the right pylon and the touchdown.

Will Vanhooser booted the extra point, giving Cornersville a 13-6 lead with 4:24 left in the first half.

On the ensuing Mt. Pleasant series it looked like Cornersville had the Tigers stopped, who were facing a third-and-eighteen play, but a 38-yard pass completion gave them new life and they capitalized one play later when Crawford scampered 21 yards for a touchdown.

The PAT was no good and after a few Cornersville snaps, the first half ended with Mt. Pleasant leading 14-13.

Grabbed and ran

The Bulldogs received to begin the second half and after two running plays produced four yards, Woodard ran the wrong on a run play and got bottled up on the Mt. Pleasant sidelines before McMahon took the ball out of his teammate's hands and raced 61 yards for a touchdown.

McMahon also added the two-point conversion run, making it a 21-14 contest.

"We were getting where we needed to be right there and I thought we had put ourselves in a good position to take the game," Randolph said.

Cornersville stopped the Tigers on their next drive, but gave it right back on a fumble with 3:35 remaining in the third quarter.

Bulldogs go ahead

Mt. Pleasant made the Bulldogs pay for the miscue, scoring five plays later on a Crawford 21-yard run.

Stokes made it a 22-21 contest with the two-point conversion and the third quarter ended with Cornersville in possession of the football at the Mt. Pleasant 35-yard line.

A couple of bad snaps had Cornersville in a bad situation, facing a third-and-eighteen play at the Mt. Pleasant 30-yard line, but Woodard bailed them out on a first down run to the 14-yard line.

Unfortunately, two plays later, Crawford intercepted a Woodard pass to end the Cornersville threat.

Clinched it

The Bulldogs were nowhere near ready to quit and stopped Mt. Pleasant on four straight plays to get the ball back with 4:30 left in the game.

The Tigers returned the favor, taking the ball back on downs and one play after the defensive stop, Crawford rumbled 65 yards for a touchdown, making it 28-21.

The Bulldogs ran one play after the ensuing kickoff before a Stokes interception halted the Cornersville comeback attempt.

"We want to turn this around," Randolph said. "We're gonna be OK, we're gonna be OK, but we have got to do those extra things and one of those extra things is finishing ballgames."

The Bulldogs (1-4, 1-2) travel to Huntland (3-3, 2-2) on Friday for another important region battle with the Hornets, who trounced Lookout Valley 42-7.

"We have to come out with the effort we gave tonight, but take care of the football and I think if we do that, we will come away with the 'W'," the coach said.

Cornersville 0 13 8 0--21

Mt. Pleasant 6 8 8 6--28

First Quarter

M--Walter Crawford 36 pass from Lorenzo Brown (kick failed), 5:08.

Second Quarter

C--Peyton Williams 1 run (run failed), 8:13.

C--Kolbe McMahon 2 run (Will Vanhooser kick), 5:48.

M--Crawford 21 run (Brady Stokes pass from Crawford), 1:34.

Third quarter

C--McMahon 61 run (Williams run), 10:18.

M--Crawford 12 run (Stokes run), 1:17.

Fourth quarter

M--Crawford 65 run (kick failed), 1:41.

Total yards: Cornersville 169; Mt. Pleasant 279.

Turnovers: Cornersville 3; Mt. Pleasant 0.

Rushing yards: Cornersville 133; Mt. Pleasant 156.

Passing Yards: Cornersville 36; Mt. Pleasant 123.

Rushing

Cornersville: Kolbe McMahon 12-105-2 TD; Eli Woodard 11-66; Peyton Williams 7-18-TD, Team 6-(-56).

Passing

Cornersville: Eli Woodard 3-5-36-2 INT.

Receiving

Cornersville: 2-34-17; Kolbe McMahon, 1-2.

Tackles

Cornersville: Willie Lyles 4; Peyton Williams 4; Ben Taylor 3.5; Cameron Whittaker 3.5; Adam Qualls 3; Peyton Finch 2.5; Cayde Fitzgerald 2.5; CJ Coble 2.5; Eli Woodard 2; Kolbe McMahon 2; Shelby Luna 1; Brock Powers 1; Will Vanhooser 1; Dillard Hatchett .5.