MCHS bulldogs beat Greene Co. 26-7
The Bulldogs won last Friday’s rivalry game against the Greene County Tigers 26-7. The victory last week was the Bulldog’s second win of the season and was the second loss of the season for Greene County.
The players took to the field a little early before the game to get a chance to get used to the artificial turf covering Greene County’s field. Even the fans could feel the heat coming off the field before the game. Head Coach Bill Malone described the way the residual heat coming from the artificial turf felt.
“It’s like playing on a parking lot. It was right to the edge of unbearable in pre-game.”
After their warm-up practices, the team charged the field with their normal vigor before crowding along the sideline, waiting anxiously for the game to begin.
Morgan County won the coin toss, and elected to defer to the second half. Campbell Harrison kicked the ball to the 2-yard line, and Grayson Segrest stopped the return on the 25. On the third play of the drive, the Tigers fumbled the ball, and the ball was recovered by Tevin Waller on Greene County’s 25 yard-line.
After a couple of penalties, including an intentional grounding at the 46-yard line that caused a fourth down with 35 yards to go, the Bulldogs had to punt to the Tigers, who took the ball at their own 3-yard line.
The Tigers made it out almost to midfield, but they again had to kick the ball back to the Bulldogs. However, another set of penalties and a couple of losses on downs ended Morgan County’s possession quickly.
By the end of the first quarter, the Tigers had made it to their own 9-yard line and looked like they would surely make the first touchdown of the night, but the Bulldog defense stepped up and forced a turnover on downs at the Tigers’ 1-yard line.
Coach Malone praised the defense’s performance in general for the game. “We feel really good when our defense can hold people to 14 points or less. We feel like we are going to be able to put more than that up.”
The Bulldogs took over at their own 1-yard line, but they didn’t stay deep in their territory long thanks to back-to-back runs by Marquis Benton for 14 and 11 yards, and a 13-yard run by Michael Gray. Morgan County continued to move downfield. The final play of the drive was a 43-yard run by Andrew Couch for the first touchdown of the night. The extra point brought the score of the game to 7-0.
Greene County scored on their next drive because of a 61-yard deflected pass, so the Bulldogs got the ball back with a score of 7-7 and 3 minutes and 45 seconds to go in the first half of the game.
The Bulldogs hit the ground running with a 13-yard run by Gray and a 21-yard run by Benton. The offense drove down the field and found itself soon in a fourth-and-ten situation at the Tigers’ 22-yard line. Harrison came onto the field and delivered a 39-yard field goal to put Morgan County ahead 10-7 with 53 seconds left in the first half.
The Bulldogs’ defense didn’t let up in the last seconds of the first half. Bailey Ross sacked the quarterback for a 9-yard loss on the first play of Greene County’s possession, and Stewart Spence intercepted the pass from the Tigers’ quarterback on the next play.
The Bulldogs took a knee to end the first half of the game.
Morgan County received the ball for the beginning of the second half, but, despite a good kick return by Gray and a 19-yard run by Benton, this drive was not successful for the Bulldogs.
The Tigers’ next possession was cut short by a holding penalty and a loss on downs, which left them with 20 yards to go for a first down on their own 6-yard line. Their kick was blocked, which allowed Spence to recover the ball and return to the end zone, scoring Morgan County’s second touchdown of the night.
Coach Malone commented on Spence’s touchdown. “Stewart was Johnny-on-the-spot then to pick the ball up and scoot and score… he’s always been a fullback at heart.
The extra point was good, bringing the score to 17-7.
The rest of the third quarter went by without either team scoring again, and the Bulldogs got the ball back soon after the beginning of the fourth quarter on their own 27-yard line. Despite a 21-yard carry by Gray on the first play of the drive, the Bulldogs were held back by a penalty for holding, and they were forced to return the ball to the Tigers.
The Tigers’ drive was mostly backwards for them. Their quarterback was sacked by Morgan County’s defense for a 12-yard loss, which put the Tigers at their own 6-yard line, and a botched punt allowed Morgan County to earn a safety. The score was 19-7 with 6 minutes and 22 seconds left in the game.
Greene County had to kick from their own 20-yard line, and Couch returned the ball to Morgan County’s 49-yard line. The good field advantage, a 19-yard run by Benton, and a facemask penalty against the Tigers quickly brought the Bulldogs to the Tigers’ 25-yard line. After a 15-yard run by Melvin Davis and a few more significant carries by Benton, Trent Hawk ran in two yards to the Bulldogs’ third touchdown, and the extra point brought the score to 26-7.
The last attempt to score by Greene County ended in an interception by Gray, whose return to the Morgan County end zone was brought back by a penalty by Morgan County, so the Bulldogs took possession of the ball at Greene County’s 31-yard line.
With only a little more than a minute left in the game, the Bulldogs let time run out for a final score of 26-7.
One of Coach Malone’s biggest frustrations during the game did not necessarily have anything to do with the performance of his athletes.
“I was very disappointed in how the pace of the game was controlled by the officials on both sides. Greene could never generate anything offensively because of the flag getting down, and we certainly couldn’t either.”
“We don’t hold as much as we get called for holding,” he added. “You could literally, in high school football, throw a flag every play if you wanted to nitpick at it.”
Next week, the Bulldogs play the Putnam County War Eagles in Eatonton. Putnam County has one its first two games as well, so the game should be an exciting match-up against a team that Morgan County considers to be a worthy rival.
Printed in the September 13 edition.