By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer
The Morgan County High School (MCHS) Bulldogs took on AA State Champs, the Jefferson Dragons, for a preseason scrimmage last Thursday at Bill Corry Stadium.
The Dragons’ varsity outscored the Bulldogs 40-10 during the first three quarters of the scrimmage. During the fourth quarter of the scrimmage, both teams sent in their JV squads, and Morgan came out on top of Jefferson’s JV 6-0.
The Dragons received the ball to begin the game, and it took them less than three minutes to make their first touchdown, following a nine-play drive.
Despite a 33-yard return by Melvin Davis on the Bulldogs’ first kickoff return, Morgan County was forced to punt the ball after only three plays.
Jefferson got through seven plays during their next drive before Griffin Sorahan, junior for Morgan County, intercepted a pass and brought the ball back 56 yards for a touchdown.
Andrew Bishop kicked the extra point to tie the game 7-7 with four and a half minutes to play in the first quarter.
Jefferson scored for the second time during their next drive, but missed the extra point, leaving the score in favor of the Dragons 13-7.
The Dogs began their next drive just before the beginning of the second quarter, but had to punt back to the Dragons, who were able to score on the first play with a 48-yard touchdown pass.
Behind 7-20, Morgan County pushed their way down almost the entire length of the field during their 17-play offensive, but the Dogs suffered an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Dragons’ 14-yard line and weren’t able to overcome the deficit, turning the ball over to Jefferson on their 10-yard line.
The Dragons had another one-play touchdown drive, moving 90 yards downfield for another touchdown.
During the Bulldogs’ next drive, Trent Hawk was able to convert a close fourth down in order to keep the offense marching forward. A 16-yard carry by Hawk got the Dogs into field goal range, and Bishop put the ball between the uprights to increase Morgan County’s score to 10-27.
The Dogs received the ball to begin the third quarter but fumbled the return, giving Jefferson possession on the Morgan County 20-yard line.
The Dragons scored three plays later to make the score 34-10 in their favor.
Morgan County fumbled the ball again during an attempted reverse during their next drive, which gave Jefferson the chance to score nine plays later.
The Dragons missed the extra point, but the Dogs remained behind 10-40.
The Bulldogs fumbled the ball during back-to-back plays during their next drive. They managed to recover the first, but Jefferson got to the ball on the second fumble.
Three plays into their next drive, the Dragons fumbled the ball as well, and Daltin Guderian, senior, nabbed the ball for Morgan County.
The Dogs got four more plays before the buzzer announced the end of the third quarter, but they weren’t able to make significant headway during the drive.
For the fourth quarter, the JV teams took the field, and the score reset.
During the Dragons’ first drive of the fourth quarter, Dalton Greenwalt intercepted a pass from Jefferson, which set the Bulldogs up to score three plays later on a 5-yard carry by Tyler Benford.
Neither team was able to add points during the remainder of the quarter, so the JV Bulldogs retained their lead 6-0.
After the scrimmage was all said and done, MCHS Head Football Coach Bill Malone responded to the team’s performance just as you would expect of him: in the most positive light possible.
“You don’t get better unless you play better people,” began Malone. “We faced a variety of things in the practice game, and, when it’s over, you’re glad you saw it.” For the athletes on the field, however, it was a different story right after the game.
“They were glad it was behind them,” said Malone. “The boys were tired, which you would figure, but they were excited to get out there.”
Malone stated that one of the roles of the scrimmage game in the final stages before the season is to remind the team that, although they have worked all summer, they still have work to do before they are fully prepared for the season.
“The sloppiness of it is what you tended to see in first games when they didn’t let you have scrimmage games. Hopefully, we’ve got that out of us,” said Malone. The Morgan County varsity football season begins next Friday, Aug. 30 at home against Monticello. Junior Varsity plays their first game on Sept. 12 against Jefferson in Jackson County at 5:30 p.m.
The Morgan County Middle School football team will begin their season this Saturday, Aug. 24 against Greene County on the road. That game will take place at 7:30 p.m.