EAGLEVILLE — The Cornersville Bulldogs (4-1, 2-0) coming off a Homecoming game pounding of the Collinwood Trojans, traveled to Rutherford County for a Region 5-1A matchup with the Eagleville Eagles (2-2, 1-0) under a cool three-quarter moon Friday night.
The Bulldogs, continuing their strong defensive showing of the 2021 season, held the Eagles to only 91 yards of total offense and Cornersville sophomore Ben Franklin ran for 153 yards and two touchdowns, one of which included a 77-yard dash up the middle for a score, as they downed the Eagles 22-7 to keep their Region 5-1A record spotless at 3-0.
“It was a total team effort tonight. The defense played well and guys on offense stood up made plays. We need our guys to step up,” Cornersville coach Gerard Randolph said,
The Bulldogs won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half.
Carnesville’s Eli Welch booted the kick-off to the Eagle 11-yard line and after a 22-yard return by Eagleville’s Dylan Pratt, the Eagles went on offense.
After a two-yard rush on first down, Bulldog defensive end Eli Welch broke into the Eagle backfield and sacked the Eagleville quarterback for a six-yard loss.
“We (defense) came out strong and we didn’t stop,” Welch said.
Welch stopped Eagleville’s Jesse Brown after a five-yard gain on the next play forcing the Eagles to punt.
Cornersville’s Mason Calahan fielded the punt at the Bulldog 29-yard line but was stopped for no gain.
The Bulldogs, hampered by an intentional grounding call on third down, punted the ball on fourth and 12 to the Eagleville 23-yard line.
A bright spot for the Bulldogs has been the punting by Tyler Brockman, as the junior has averaged over 33-yards per kick with booming punts that gives his teammates time to cover downfield.
The Bulldogs were able to gain a first down on this possession but were forced to punt and Brockman’s 30-yard punt gave the ball to the Eagles at their own 41-yard line.
The Eagles faced a fourth and 14 at their own 37-yard line as the scoreless first quarter ended.
As the second quarter began the Bulldogs having forced an Eagleville punt and after a four-yard loss on first down, Franklin burst up the middle, cleared the Eagle secondary and was off to the races on a 77-yard dash to the end zone. Logan Springer's PAT put Cornersville up 7-0.
When asked what he thought when he got through the line and saw the open field, Franklin, with the big smile said, “I was like, I got to go.”
The Bulldog defense with Rhett Woodard, Welch, Wesley Pigg and Hunter Fitzgerald corralling the Eagles, forced another punt but a Cornersville fumble stopped the drive.
The Bulldogs would regain the football with one minute left until halftime and with a most efficient use of play calling and time management moved the ball from their own 36-yard line.
Bulldog quarterback Blaine Woodard on second and 10 found Fitzgerald down the right side for a 34-yard gain.
Woodard ran for 16-yards to the Eagle 9-yard line and after a Bulldog time out Woodard scampered into the end zone and Springer once again nailed the PAT to put Cornersville into the lead, 14-0 with 10 seconds left until halftime.
The third quarter saw the Bulldogs defense keeping everything in front of them as they stymied the Eagles and kept the home team away from scoring.
The Bulldogs offense, still striving to find consistent effort, was kept out of the end zone by the Eagles.
The Eagles gained the ball at the 8:18 mark of the fourth quarter and began their only fruitful drive of the game.
The Eagle run game suddenly kicked into gear as they began on their own 45-yard line.
The Bulldogs held the Eagles but a personal foul by the Bulldogs gave them extra life at the Bulldog 25-yard line.
After a five-yard rush and an Eagle timeout, Kaden Snitzer, on a beautifully executed end-around outran the Bulldog defenders to the end zone and the PAT was good to cut the Bulldog lead in half, 14-7.
The Eagles attempted an onside kick that at first seemed successful, but the officials huddled, and it was determined that the Eagleville player who recovered the ball had stepped out of bounds earlier, causing Eagleville to be penalized and forced to kick-off again.
Cornersville’s Jonathon Zuniga recovered the second on-side kick at the Eagle 35-yard line. The Bulldogs, using Franklin as a battering ram, moved the ball to the Eagle 19-yard line. From there, he raced around the left side and into the end zone.
After an Eagle off-side penalty Randolph elected to go for the two-point conversion. Franklin dashed through the Eagleville line and the Bulldogs led 22-7 with three minutes left in the game.
The Bulldog defense held the Eagles and the game clock ticked down to zero as the Cornersville Bulldogs and their faithful fans celebrated the first victory on Eagleville’s home field in their series history.