Cornersville loses second straight region game
The Cornersville Bulldogs traveled to Columbia on Friday with a chance to move back into a three way tie in the region standings with a win over its namesakes from Columbia Academy and despite being outgained 378-116 in overall yardage, the visitors entered the fourth quarter tied with the undefeated Bulldogs before giving up two late scores in a 25-12 loss.
"The overall plan was to come and try and win a ballgame," Cornersville coach Gerrard Randolph stated. "We felt like we could move the ball on them and added a few wrinkles through the week and a couple of them worked."
"We knew it was going to be a tall task, but we felt like we could come in and compete with this team and have a chance to win the game," Randolph added.
The Bulldogs remain in the fourth and final playoff spot with Columbia Academy in the driver's seat, but a win Friday over Fayetteville could pull Cornersville out of the fourth spot and away from an anticipated first round playoff game at fourth-ranked South Pittsburg.
"We've got to get this out of our system," Randolph said. "I think we played hard, we can't take that away from them but we've got to get this out of our system and look forward to a big region game on Friday night."
"The thing about this region here, its region game after region game, so we can't sit here and dwell on this one," Randolph continued. "We've got to get ready for Fayetteville City."
The Bulldogs gave Columbia Academy a run for its money from the onset and after the home team took an early 6-0 lead, Cornersville came right back at CA with a 43-yard Eli Woodard to Cam Whitaker pass to set up a Peyton Finch touchdown run from two yards out.
Whitaker came up with a huge defensive play on the next Columbia Academy possession, intercepting a pass to give the Bulldogs possession, but the drive stalled with the first half winding down and Cornersville had to punt.
With the Cornersville defense holding, Columbia Academy made a fateful decision to attempt a fourth down conversion instead of punting the ball away to end the half.
Sophomore Peyton Finch intercepted the errant pass and took the ball 75 yards for a touchdown as the halftime buzzer sounded with Cornersville holding a 12-6 edge.
"I knew it was a pass because I saw the running back come out in the flat so I got in my drop and the ball came in and it was in slow motion until I caught it," Finch said. "When I got the ball I took off running until I hit the end zone."
Much like the previous week against Summertown, the scoring play would be the last of the game for Cornersville as Columbia Academy made adjustments and ran the ball down straight at the Cornersville defense in the second half.
"The first half I believe that we put all our energy out on the line," Brice Dunkleman said. "And by the second half we were just completely drained and that was a big setback for us."
The Bulldogs' defense kept Cornersville in the game deep into the third quarter, but Columbia Academy ultimately won the battle on the ground with 338 yards to just 66 yards for Cornersville and had 10 players rush for at least 10 yards en route to a 19-0 scoring edge in the second half entirely on the ground.
"We had a couple key injuries hurt us and not having CJ Coble out there hurt us big time at the linebacker position," Randolph said. "But (Columbia Academy) found a way to score the football and that's what good football teams do, they find a way. We've just got to find a better way to score in the red zone. That's really hurt us the past two games."
The Bulldogs have two more chances to lock up a playoff spot with key road matches against Fayetteville on Friday and longtime rival Richland the final week of the regular season.
Cornersville 0 12 0 0-12
Columbia Academy 6 0 6 13-25
Columbia Academy-David Cofer 31 run, PAT NG
Cornersville-Peyton Finch 1 run, PAT NG
Cornersville-Finch 75 interception return, PAT NG
Columbia Academy-Dylan Johnson 1 run, PAT NG
Columbia Academy-Logan Neal 21 run, PAT NG
Columbia Academy-Tre Davidson 25 run, Drew Logsdon PAT
Total Offense-Columbia Academy 378, Cornersville 116
Passing-Columbia Academy 55, Cornersville 40
Rushing-Columbia Academy 338, Cornersville 66
Penalties-Columbia Academy 3-20, Cornersville 1-5
Turnovers-Columbia Academy 3, Cornersville 0
First downs-Columbia Academy 18, Cornersville 7
Passing-Henlee Mitchell 1-3-7, Eli Woodard 1-2-43, Cameron Whittaker 0-1
Receiving-Cameron Whittaker 2-40
Rushing-Eli Woodard 13-46, Peyton Finch 9-30-TD, Cameron Whittaker 8-4, Henlee Mitchell 4-(-14)
Tackles-Devin Baus 6.5, Eli Woodard 6.5, Trenten Warren 5.5, Ben Taylor 4, Brice Dunkleman 4, Peyton Finch 4 (INT), Brock Powers 3.5, Dakota Polk 3, Brice Dunkleman 2.5, Andrew Brady 1, Cameron Whittaker 1 (INT), Alex Webster 1, Blake Pickett .5