The Bulldogs second half comeback against the Adrian Blackhawks came up short as ElDo fell 24-16 in the final game of the regular season.
During the first quarter of action, neither team managed to move the ball as each defense stood strong.
In the second quarter, Adrian started the scoring off with a 27-yard field goal.
On the ensuing ElDo drive, the Bulldogs were forced to punt the ball away but the snap hit the ground and the punter was tackled at the ElDo 12-yard line. Four plays later, on 4th and 1, the Blackhawks had a stroke of luck as their QB fell to a knee before handing the ball off but the official never blew the play dead and the running back gained the needed yard. On the next play, Adrian ran into the endzone and took a 10-0 lead.
ElDo responded as Brayden Housh opened the next drive with a 10-yard run. Two plays later, Tanner Witt broke into the open before being tackled 48 yards down the field. At this point, the Bulldog drive stalled and the Blackhawks picked off a pass on 4th and 15.
Adrian then covered 92 yards in four plays and jumped to a 17-0 lead, which they would take into halftime.
Adrian began the second half with the ball, and on the seventh play of the drive, Keilan Jaques forced the Blackhawk QB to fumble the ball, which Jaques recovered. The Bulldogs opened their next drive with a 58-yard run by Tanner Witt, but the drive stalled out on 4th down at the Adrian 12-yard line.
The Blackhawks marched down the field when the quarter came to a close with the game still 17-0.
In the fourth quarter, Adrian finished their drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to take a 24-0 lead.
On the next Bulldogs drive, ElDo put together a 10-play drive, highlighted by two runs by Witt with multiple broken tackles and finished with a 6-yard touchdown run by Housh. Witt added the two-point conversion to make it a 24-8 game.
The onside kick attempt was covered by Adrian but the Bulldog defense forced a 3-and-out and a punt allowing the Bulldogs to take over on their own 13-yard line. Three plays into the ElDo drive, Housh broke free for a 50-yard run. On the next play, Housh threw a 24-yard pass to Derek Hayes who made a great catch over the defender. Housh then ran into the endzone from four yards out on the next play and also ran in the 2-point conversion to make it a 24-16 game with 2:05 left.
On the ensuing onside kick, the Bulldogs nearly recovered the ball before a Blackhawk returner managed to punch the ball out of bounds allowing Adrian to have possession. The Bulldogs defense again held strong forcing a punt on four downs and ElDo had the ball at their own 29. After two incomplete passes, the Bulldogs connected on two short passes that came up one yard short of the first down marker. The Blackhawks took over and were able to kneel the ball down to secure the 24-16 victory.
Coach Scroggins said, “In the first three quarters, we didn’t execute on either side of the ball the way that we are capable of. I was pleased that going into the 4thquarter, down 24-0, our kids refused to quit and started coming back. Tanner Witt broke some strong runs and Brayden Housh took charge at QB and we drove down the field and got into the endzone. Our defense held strong and our offense then went on an 87-yard drive to make it a one touchdown game. Down by 8 with one minute to go, we had our chances to tie the game up and came up short. I believe if we would have started playing earlier in the game with the energy and precision we finished, we would have come home with a win. As it was, we lost our first game in eight weeks. Our kids were upset with the loss and I think it will help fire us up going into districts.”
ElDo (7-2) will next host Warsaw in the first round of district play on Friday night at 7 p.m.
PASSING – was held to a minimum by the Adrian Blackhawks. Here Gaven Morgan catches one of his two for a total of one yard. Derek Hayes led the Bulldogs with two passes for 24 yards. Sheby McKinney caught one for 10 yards. Tanner Witt had one for 5 yards. Clayton Collins caught one for four yards. Photo by Adrian News Leader.
LEADING TACKLERS – for the Bulldog were Trey Graves (No. 66) with 12 and half a TFL (tackle for loss) and Haiden Overton also with 12 and 1 TFL. Shelby McKinney had 11 and a TFL. Keilan Jaques had 10 and a TFL, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Photo by Adrian News Leader.