The El Dorado Springs Bulldogs had their season come to an end as the Versailles Tigers won 48-36 on Friday night.
Eldo began the evening on offense and on the second play of the game, Tanner Witt broke off a 36-yard run before being tackled. Three plays later, Witt rushed for a 17-yard gain and on the next play, Babcock ran the ball into the end zone from 19 yards out to give the Bulldogs the 6-0 lead. On the third play of the Versailles drive, Haiden Overton stripped the ball from the Tigers quarterback and Trey Graves jumped on the loose ball giving the Bulldogs possession. Babcock found Shelby McKinney on the first play of the drive for a 26-yard gain but the drive would stall out six plays later at the Eldo 20-yard line. Versailles responded with a 6-play scoring drive to take a 7-6 lead. Next, both teams traded 4-and-outs near midfield. Babcock opened the next Bulldog drive with a 15-yard run and six plays later, Brayden Housh made a 25-yard field goal to give Eldo the 9-7 lead as the first quarter came to an end.
In the second quarter, Versailles scored on a 74-yard pass to regain the lead, 14-9. The Bulldogs answered right back on their next drive as Witt ripped off a 20-yard run, followed by a Babcock to Derek Hayes pass for 42-yards. McKinney capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, with Housh adding the PAT giving the Bulldogs a 16-14 advantage. Seven plays later, the Tigers jumped back on top, 20-16, by connecting on a 37-yard touchdown pass. Eldo answered back with a 17-play drive when Witt scored on a 1-yard run to take a 22-20 lead. On the next drive, the Tigers scored on a 17-yard run giving Versailles a 27-22 lead going into the half.
Versailles opened the second half with the ball and the Bulldogs defense forced a turnover on downs at midfield. On the fourth play of the Bulldog drive, a Tiger defender intercepted a pass and took it to the house to give Versailles a 34-22 lead. The Bulldogs threw another interception on the first play of the ensuing drive and the Tigers went on a 9-play scoring drive to make it 41-22. The Bulldogs regrouped and went on a 9-play drive that ended with McKinney running into the end zone from 2-yards out and Housh adding the PAT to make the score 41-29 in favor of the Tigers with the third quarter nearing its end.
In the 4thquarter, Versailles went on an 87-yard drive to take a 48-29 lead. The Bulldogs were not willing to go down without a fight however, as Babcock capped off a 15-play drive with a 14-yard touchdown run. Housh added the PAT making it a 36-48 game. The Bulldog defense then forced Versailles to punt the ball on its next possession. Eldo took over at their own 20-yard line. Four plays into the drive, Witt broke free down the sideline for a 57-yard gain. Four plays later, facing 4th and 12 with a little over one-minute left, Babcock appeared to hit Hayes in the corner of the end zone before the back judge waved the catch out of bounds and giving Versailles the ball and the ability to end the game with kneel downs.
BULLDOG OFFENSIVE LINEMEN DO THEIR JOB – Offensive linemen – Bryson Rader, Jordan Gallette, Bradley McCullick, Cameron Hargrove and Dagan McIntire open up a big hole for Tanner Witt to run through in the middle. This one has all of the linemen in it, and Tanner with the ball. Photo by Kerri Rader.
Coach Scroggins said, “The loss hurts but I’m proud of our boys. Not just in how they played tonight and all year for that matter, but proud of who they are as people. Once again, our attitude and effort were on display. When we were down by 19 points in the 4th quarter, our kids weren’t looking to point fingers or place blame, they were focused on trying to find a way to win the game, and we had our chances. Versailles is a very good football team and we knew that going into this game. This is a great group of seniors that have worked hard for the past four years and they will be missed. I think that it speaks volumes for how our program has grown, that we can finish the year 8-3 and be disappointed. It is now on us to continue to improve in the offseason and take another step in the right direction with next year’s team.”
Offensively, Tanner Witt finished the evening with 254 rushing yards on 27 carries while Trey Babcock threw for 146 yards, completing 15 of 28 passes. Shelby McKinney led the receiving corps with 8 receptions for 72 yards. Defensively, McKinney and Witt led the way with 11 tackles each, including 2 tackles for loss each as well.