Cornersville Middle School Bulldogs win season opener

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
The Cornersville Middle School Bulldogs picked up a big last second 20-14 win at Highland Rim in Thursday night’s season opener.
Tribune photo by Anthony S. Puca

The Cornersville Middle School Bulldogs travelled to Fayetteville to take on Highland Rim for their season opener on Thursday and came away with a last second 20-14 win over the Hornets when wide receiver Tanner Edwards caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Elijah Pitts on the final play of the game.

Highland Rim went undefeated last year and is the defending conference champs.

The Bulldogs outgained the Hornets 195-177 and finished with 179 yards rushing on 42 carries. Tailback Rhett Woodard led the offense with 115 yards rushing on 16 carries and scored one touchdown, while Riley Qualls added 66 yards and a touchdown on 11 touches.

Woodard, Qualls, and Welch each recorded three tackles to lead the defense with Woodard recovering a fumble. Pitts also recorded an interception on defense.

Cornersville drove the length of the field on their opening possession of the game, but had a touchdown run called back because of a holding penalty and ended up losing the ball on downs at the Hornet 20-yard line.

Highland Rim struck quickly on their ensuing possession and took a 6-0 lead thanks to an 80-yard touchdown run on their first play from scrimmage.

The Bulldogs put together another methodical drive and tied the game early in the second quarter at 6-6 when Riley Qualls scampered into the end zone from 15-yards out.

The tie would prove to be short lived, as Highland Rim scored on a 57-yard TD run on their next offensive play before running in the two-point conversion to seize a 14-6 lead.

The Bulldogs came up empty on long drive late in the second quarter and trailed 14-6 at halftime, but recovered a Highland Rim fumble deep in Hornet territory midway through the third period.

CMS cashed in on the Highland Rim miscue when Woodward scored on a 10-yard touchdown run before Qualls ran in the two-point conversion to tie the game at 14-14 with 2:54 left in the third quarter.

After holding the Hornets scoreless on their next two possessions, the Bulldogs drove into Highland Rim territory late in the fourth quarter, but lost a fumble with 19 seconds left in regulation.

Cornersville, however, got the ball back on the next play when Pitts picked off a Highland Rim pass and weaved his way down to the Hornet 16-yard line with 0:03 remaining.

Following a CMS timeout, Edwards hauled in the game winning pass from Pitts on the left side of the field and scored as time expired despite taking a big hit near the goal line to give the Bulldogs the dramatic victory.