Sam Couch dashes down the sideline with Putnam players following closely behind him. Photo by Jesse Walker

Sam Couch dashes down the sideline with Putnam players following closely behind him. Photo by Jesse Walker

Next Up Bye week this week. The Dogs return to the field to take on the Oconee County Warriors on Sept. 27 in Oconee.

By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer

The Morgan County High School (MCHS) Bulldogs beat the Putnam County War Eagles at home last Friday night 26-7 for their third victory of the 2013 season. The War Eagles, who had built a 2-0 record before their game against the Bulldogs, will be Morgan County’s last non-region opponent of the season. After a bye week this Friday, the Dogs will take on the Oconee County Warriors in Watkinsville on Sept. 27 for the first region game of the year.

The Bulldogs received the ball to begin the game, and set up on their own 23-yard line, but a 67-yard pass play by Trent Hawk to Melvin Davis on the first play of the game got Morgan County within 10 yards of a touchdown. Two plays later, Marquis Benton ran the ball four yards for the first touchdown of the game with little more than a minute off of the clock.

Morgan and Putnam traded possessions through the rest of the first quarter before the Dogs struck soon after the beginning of the second quarter. Although the extra point attempt after the touchdown was unsuccessful, Morgan County’s lead had grown to 13-0.

During Morgan County’s next possession, a fumble on the first play of the drive gave the War Eagles the ball on the Morgan County 42-yard line, and that was good enough field advantage for them to score on a short carry just a few plays later.

Neither team added points to their score during the remaining minutes of the first half, and Putnam County set up to receive the ball after the halftime shows by the Morgan and Putnam bands.

For their second possession of the third quarter, Morgan County began their drive on their own 12-yard line after a turnover on downs by Putnam County.

The Dogs didn’t stay back for long; drives by Benton and Hawk, including a 24-yard scramble by Hawk, put the Dogs in War Eagle territory.

A 24-yard carry by Trey Chapman put Morgan County near the red zone, and Justice Chapman’s 19-yard pass reception put the Dogs back in the end zone.

To make up for the missed extra point attempt in the second quarter, Morgan County attempted a two-point conversion but came up short, making the score 19-7.

Not content with the 12-point lead, the Dogs scored again in the third quarter on a short drive culminating with a 10-yard carry by Benton into the end zone to advance the score to 26-7.

The Dogs’ defense kept Putnam County from making significant progress during their fourth-quarter drives.

Wyatt Martin intercepted a War Eagle pass, which had been deflected by Benton, late in the fourth quarter, and the Dogs were able to run the clock almost empty before the ball returned to Putnam, who only had time for one play before time expired.

MCHS Head Coach Bill Malone lauded the team’s performance against Putnam.

“Our boys played as hard as they can play,” said Malone. “It was one of those games where our guys played like they are capable of playing.”

Coach Malone stated that the team is beginning to “shore up” some of the penalties they have been getting, which he attributes to “ridiculous mental mistakes” that can be corrected, but noted that the offense lost 87 yards during the game due to gains being called back.

With the win over Putnam, Morgan County now has a 3-0 record going into their region schedule.

Before the Dogs’ first region game on Sept. 27, however, they have a bye week in between games to prepare.

Coach Malone’s feeling about a week without a game is simple: “get through it.”

Although the coaching staff plans to “tone down” the practice sessions this week, Coach Malone stated that the bye week increases the possibilities for the team to go through a practice session and come off the field having made little or no progress.

“It’s good to heal, but, at the same time, you want to be productive,” said Malone about bye week practices.

The Dogs will be taking on region opponent the Oconee County Warriors for their first game after the bye week on Friday, Sept. 27 in Oconee County.

For more photos of the MCHS-Putnam game, click here.