by Head Football Coach Kelley Beckner
The school year has started, the weather will begin to change (hopefully), and that means one thing…football season!
The El Dorado Springs Bulldogs started their year off by playing a new opponent, the Forsyth Panthers. It was the first meeting between the two schools and proved to be a battle until the very end with Forsyth winning 36-16.
Typically, high school games are played on Friday night; however, due to the shortages among the official associations, the ElDo game was drawn to be played on Saturday rather than Friday.
Coach Beckner stated, “It was sort of neat to be able to play on Saturday, typically when you get to play on Saturday that means you are making a playoff run so I hope there are few more in our future.”
The game was a battle in all phases of the game. Forsyth struck first driving their opening possession in for 6 and a 2 pt. conversion. ElDo then went 3 and out with a punt, which was muffed and recovered by the Bulldogs inside Panther territory. The drive stalled out and ended with an interception inside the Panther 10 yard line.
The teams then settled and exchanged possessions until midway in the second quarter and the Panthers struck again. The Bulldogs picked up steam going into the half but failed to tally any points and went into the locker room down 16-0.
Coach Beckner said, “We had a tough time getting things going. Backs were seeing things a little different, maybe a little faster. Our line had to adjust to sustain their blocks longer. Coaches say all the time, it is like a battle of chess, those first series the teams are feeling each other out until there is a breakdown. We had a couple of breakdowns early but our defensive staff (Coach Daniel Stantorf and Todd Mowery) did a good job of getting our kids settled and in a good rotation. I knew going into the game it was going to take a series or two for the offense to click. Missing returning All-Conf senior RB Chance Esparza because of injury hurt the balance of the offense, but we are hopeful to get him back this week or next.”
During the second half the offense began to click and moved the ball more consistently. Sophomore Landon Murry caused most of the damage behind an offensive line of Payton Green, Montana Hacker, Jake Cooper, Tag Gurley and Rees McCullough, rushing for over 160 yards.
Senior Logan Speer made his debut as a Bulldog and lead the offense at quarterback. “We had a lot of new faces on the field, Logan is a great kid and good leader. He puts a lot of pressure on himself, I was happy to see him settle down and make a couple really good throws and command the offense.”
Fellow senior Devun Salazar also saw his first start as Bulldog and had a great catch in the third quarter to set up a score. “I am proud of that kid, when he came and told me he wanted to play, I went along with it, and from there it took off. He bought in, has worked extremely hard and has contributed to the team/program.”
Sophomore Riley Massie also had an excellent breakout game as he intercepted Forsyth twice and was also on the receiving end of a great throw and catch touchdown in the second half.
“Riley is a fun kid to be around, I was happy to see him have some success. He’s worked hard for it. Now we just have to keep getting better and building off what we did right and wrong.”
The Bulldogs are once again on the road this week; however, will be playing on Friday. Their week 2 opponent is Clever High School. Last year, week 2 was canceled the day of the game due the opposing team and COVID.
Coach Beckner ended with saying, “I say it all the time the most growth a team has is week 1 to week 2. We didn’t have a chance last year and it really hurt us. I am so hopeful that this year it will be different and these players can see the growth and find that success.”
Kickoff is set for 7 pm at Clever High School on Friday, Sept.3.