By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer
Morgan County’s 41-29 victory against the Oconee County Warriors, the Bulldogs’ first 8-AAA region opponent of the season, gets the Dogs off on the right track for the postseason possibilities in the months to come.
The game ended up being the fourth consecutive loss for Oconee County, whose 0-4 overall record perfectly mirrors Morgan County’s 4-0 record.
As part of the pre-game festivities, an Oconee County girl dressed in faux Native American attire rode atop a horse across the football field.
Halfway across the field, however, in what could be interpreted as a bad omen for the Warriors, the horse halted suddenly, tearing the turf with its hooves and almost throwing its rider from the saddle.
After eliciting an audible gasp from the audience, the horse continued on, vacating the field for the team’s entrances.
The Bulldogs received the opening kickoff and began the game with a 14-play drive, which lasted more than half of the first quarter. During the drive, the Dogs converted four first downs and ultimately scored on a fourth down with Trent Hawk’s 25-yard pass to Justice Chapman in the end zone.
Andrew Bishop kicked the extra point, making the score 7-0 for Morgan County.
Oconee’s first drive only lasted four plays, but, during the drive, Hawk sustained a knee injury and was forced to sit the rest of the game out.
Brantley Frost took over in the quarterback position at the beginning of the next Morgan County drive.
The 67-yard offensive drive was all due to Marquis Benton, who took the carry on each play in the drive. Benton’s longest single advance was 48 yards, but it only took 2 yards on the final play to get into the end zone.
Entering the second quarter, the score was 14-0. Oconee was able to hold the Dogs on their next drive, but an interception by Tez Mathis, which was returned to the Warriors’ 6-yard line, gave Morgan County the chance for one more possession before the end of the half.
It took three short plays for the touchdown, which was earned on a short passing play to Trey Chapman. Morgan County carried a 21-0 lead into halftime.
The Bulldogs came out fired up in the second half. Mathis and Trey Chapman tackled Warriors in the backfield during the first two plays of the drive, and an incomplete pass forced Oconee into a punt situation.
Morgan County made short work of their next drive, scoring with a 36-yard touchdown run by Melvin Davis after only three previous plays.
The Dogs had a 28-0 lead under their belt with nine minutes remaining in the third quarter, when Oconee began to put together a few successful drives to get them on the board.
The first Oconee drive to result in a touchdown almost ended on the penultimate play; the Warriors fumbled the ball near Morgan County’s 4-yard line but were able to recover the loose ball before the Dogs could pounce on it.
After the touchdown, the Warriors picked up a two-point conversion as well to make the score 28-8.
Morgan County strung together another long drive entering the fourth quarter. Again, Benton earned the touchdown, carrying the ball the final 17 yards into the end zone and making the score 35-8.
Oconee only held onto the ball for a short drive following Benton’s second touchdown, but a Bulldog fumble deep in their own territory gave the Warriors good field position, which resulted in their second touchdown of the night.
The extra point put the score at 35-15 with less than half of the last quarter remaining.
Morgan County was able to capitalize on a fumble deep in their opponent’s territory, obtaining possession on Oconee’s 6-yard line.
Jody McAlister picked up the Dogs’ last touchdown of the night with a 4-yard gain. Morgan County then attempted a two-point conversion but failed to earn the extra points.
With just a bit more than three minutes remaining in the game, the Dogs were ahead 41-15, but Oconee County quickly shortened the gap, when they returned Morgan County’s kickoff from deep in the backfield for a touchdown.
The Warriors weren’t satisfied with only the one late touchdown. After blocking Morgan County’s next punt on their own 25-yard line, Oconee needed only one play to advance the seven yards they needed for another touchdown.
After the flurry of late touchdowns, the final score settled at 41-29 in favor of the Dogs as the final few second ticked off on the clock.
The win sets Morgan County with a 1-0 region record, and the Dogs are set to face the formidable North Oconee Titans at home this Friday, Oct. 4 at Bill Corry Stadium.
Click here for more photos of the MCHS-Oconee match-up.