Bulldogs end preseason on high note

Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Sophomore signal caller Eli Woodard looks to the sideline for the play while his teammates await his arrival. Tribune photos by Mike Inglsbee

The Bulldogs picked up right where it left off last season, coming up with a 7-0 win over longtime rival Richland in the third game of the Cornersville jamboree Saturday night at Frog Bottom.

Cornersville, which beat the Raiders with ease by a 44-24 score to end last season on a high note, needed just one big play----a 52 yard touchdown catch from sophomore athlete Cameron Whitaker via his classmate Eli Woodard to send Richland home to Lynnville with a loss before the season starts on Friday.

"I definitely think (the jamboree) was a success," second year coach Gerard Randolph said. "Of course, everything is not going to be perfect, but we were able to go out and compete and get better. Anytime you get the opportunity to get on the field you should try to get better. We still have a ways to go, but I think we took a step in the right direction."

Triple threat

The Cornersville three-headed monster of Kolbe McMahon, Trenton Warren and Whitaker at the running back position was too much for the Raiders to contend with and the Bulldogs wore Richland down on the ground before taking to the air to seal the deal.

Playing just two quarters with a running clock, the Bulldogs marched down the field with little resistance from the Raiders before scoring on a run to the outside, but the touchdown was nullified with a holding call and the home team failed to capitalize on the field position before turning the ball back over to Richland.

The regular season region foes traded punts until the Bulldogs gained possession early in the second quarter, methodically marching down the field relying heavily on the run game with three Kolbe McMahon runs and one run each from Woodard, Whitaker and Warren before the drive stalled on a third and long.

First score

The Bulldogs finally broke the scoring drought, catching the Raiders off guard when Woodard threw a perfect spiral to a streaking Whitaker down the sideline to gain a 7-0 lead after a Ben Taylor extra point.

"The offense did a really good job of controlling the tempo and I'm excited about how many guys can contribute on offense this year," Randolph added. "I think we are a more experienced team this season. A lot of the guys that will suit up this season played quite a bit of football last year. The guys seemed to be a little more confident in themselves this year."

QB Eli Woodard hands the ball off to junior running back Kolbe McMahon, who played in his first game since tearing his ACL midway through the 2015 season.

The Bulldogs caught a break on the Raiders last series of the game when a Richland receiver had the Cornersville defensive back beat by three steps, but missed a perfectly thrown ball which would have tied the contest, falling harmlessly to the grass as the home team heads into the opener on a high note.

Great defense

"Our defense surprised me the most," Randolph said. "I think we had guys flying around to the ball and that was great. Besides a couple of busted assignments, I think the defense played well."

The Bulldogs will open the regular season on Friday at home at 7 p.m. against Mount Juliet Christian, who surprised Cornersville in the opener last season with a 36-6 shellacking at Mount Juliet.