Loss to South Pittsburg ends Bulldogs' season
The Cornersville Bulldogs ran into a Pirate warship Friday night, losing 62-12 in the first round of the TSSAA Class A playoffs at fifth-ranked South Pittsburg.
The Pirates jumped on the Bulldogs early and often, scoring 27 first quarter points and opened up a 41-12 lead at the half.
"South Pitt is a very deserving team, it was not hard to see why they are ranked in the top five in the state," Cornersville coach Gerard Randolph said. "They really dominated us up front in the trenches and we made some mistakes earlier that South Pitt was able to capitalize on, and facing a good team like that you cannot make mistakes early."
South Pittsburg put up 599 yards of total offense with senior running back Kyree Prior leading the Pirates' ground attack with 224 yards on 11 carries and three touchdowns.
"Pryor is a really good football player as well as most of the team," Randolph said. "Every time that he touched the ball he was able to pick up big yardage. They do a really good job of running their schemes and his speed just makes it more dynamic."
The Bulldogs had two scores in the contest as Trenten Warren tallied both with the first touchdown coming on a first quarter 75-yard kickoff return and Warren scored again in the second quarter on a four-yard run.
The Bulldogs finished the season with a 5-5 overall record as they made their first playoff appearance since 2013 and Randolph is proud of the way his squad has fought through adversity this season.
"I am extremely proud of the effort that was giving all year from this group of young men," said Randolph. "This team had a chance to win each and every time we stepped on the field during the regular season and hopefully this year of experience will help us be able to pull out some of the close games that we lost this past year."
The Bulldogs' future is bright as they lose just three players this season to graduation.
"I think they have set a standard of how we want Bulldog football to be in the future and that is smart, tough, and physical," Randolph said. "I think this group has come a long way from the start of fall camp until now."
The two main cogs for the Frog Bottom boys going forward are the two-headed running back monster of sophomores Eli Woodard (185-1,222-7TD) and Cameron Whittaker (140-763-13TD), who combined for 1,985 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns.
"I think the future could be really bright for this group, not only for this group, but for the up and coming future Bulldogs," Randolph said. "The numbers are up big time and they are having a ton of success in the middle school and youth leagues, and that's where it all starts."
Next year's realignment shakes up the regions again, but Randolph feels that Cornersville has turned a corner and the Bulldogs are in good hands as they move forward to a more successful playoff run next season.
"If they will continue to work extremely hard and keep buying in to the system then good things will continue to happen here in Cornersville," Randolph said. "We have a really good staff here that cares a lot about helping these young men be successful not only on the field, but off the field also."
Cornersville 6 6 0 0-12
South Pittsburg 27 14 14 7-62
S. Pitt- Joseph Lilly III 54 pass from Hogan Holland, (EJ Cagle kick)
S. Pitt-Kyree Pryor 35 run, (PAT NG)
Cornersville-Trenten Warren 75 kick return, (PAT NG)
S. Pitt-Sawyer Kelley 24 run, (Kelly run NG)
S. Pitt-Garrett Raulston 4 run, (PAT NG)
Cornersville-Warren 4 run, (PAT NG)
S. Pitt-Pryor 1 run, (Pass NG)
S. Pitt-Pryor 30 run, (Lilly III run)
S. Pitt-Lilly III 8 run, (Cagle PAT)
S. Pitt-Raulston 2 run, (Cagle PAT)
S. Pitt-Jaylon Hubbard 43 pass from Holland, (Cagle PAT)
Total Yards-Cornersville 169, S. Pitt 599
Passing-Cornersville (-2), S. Pitt 121
Rushing-Cornersville 171, S. Pitt 476
Penalties-Cornersville 0-0, S. Pitt 1-15
Turnovers-Cornersville 0, S. Pitt 1
First downs-Cornersville 4, S. Pitt 22
Passing-Eli Woodard 1-3-(-2)
Receiving-Cameron Whittaker 1-(-2)
Rushing-Eli Woodard 14-130, Cameron Whittaker 9-19, Trenten Warren 6-15-TD, Jose Minor 4-9, Dakota Polk 1-2, Peyton Finch 1-(-1), Henlee Mitchell 1-(-3)
Tackles-Blake Pickett 4.5, Eli Woodard 4, Devin Baus 4, Cameron Whittaker 3.5, Trenten Warren 3, CJ Coble 3, Brock Powers 1, Payton Cooper 1, Ben Taylor 1, Dylan Baus 1
Kickoff returns-Eli Woodard 8-100, Trenten Warren 1-75-TD, Cameron Whittaker 1-12
Punt returns-Blake Pickett 1-13
Punting-Ben Taylor 6-183
PAT-Ben Taylor 0-2