By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer
The Morgan County High School (MCHS) Bulldogs suffered a devastating 40-0 loss to the Elbert County Blue Devils last Friday night in Elberton. After beginning the season with four consecutive victories, the Dogs have endured back-to-back losses in the past two weeks, putting their record at 1-2 in the region.
Elbert County had the first possession of the game and scored on a seven-play drive to move ahead of the Dogs 6-0. The Blue Devils missed the point after attempt, which was a problem that plagued the team for most of the game.
The Dogs made steady advancements to begin their first drive, including two nine-yard carries by Marquis Benton, but were forced to punt back to the Devils from their own 45-yard line.
Elbert was able to cover 78 yards with two plays to score on their next drive but again missed the extra point to make the score 12-0 in their favor.
Sam Couch gained nine yards on the first play of the Bulldogs’ next drive, but the team couldn’t convert a first down, so Elbert received the ball for the third time in the first quarter.
The Blue Devils earned another touchdown on Morgan County during their third drive. After the 80-yard passing play that lead to the end zone, Elbert converted a two-point play to make the score 20-0 with two and a half minutes left in the first quarter.
Morgan County was able to stop Elbert County’s offense and force them to punt during their next drive, and the Dogs began the second quarter with possession of the ball on their own 22-yard line.
The Dogs didn’t make it out of their own territory during the next offensive, but Morgan County was able to hold Elbert County to short advances on their next drive.
The Blue Devils attempted a long pass into the end zone to overcome a long first down, but Melvin Davis picked the ball out of the air and returned it to the Dogs’ 22-yard line. Unfortunately, a block in the back penalty pulled the Dogs back to their own 10-yard line, and they weren’t able to make it out of the deep territory.
The Dogs pushed Elbert County back during their next drive. After their only advance of the possession, Tez Mathis sacked the Devils’ quarterback for a two-yard loss, Bulldog defenders forced an intentional grounding penalty, and Benton pressured their quarterback into throwing an incomplete pass, leading to a fourth down situation for Elbert with 30 yards to go.
Elbert County managed to score only once during the second half, with a 35-yard carry. The extra point made the score 27-0.
On the first play of the Bulldogs’ next drive, Tyler Benford made an impressive run from the Dogs’ 30-yard line, breaking through Blue Devil defenders and running 70-yards to the end zone before officials called the play back to the Morgan County 49-yard line, where Benford had stepped on the boundary line.
The Dogs were able to convert a fourth down with a seven-yard carry by Benton, but the clock ran out on the second quarter during Morgan County’s drive.
Morgan County received the ball to receive the second half, but the team wasn’t able to capitalize on the possession.
The Dogs’ defense again held Elbert County before beginning their longest drive of the night, a total of 70 yards.
Melvin Davis began the drive with a 22-yard carry, and advances by Benton, Davis, and Cody Harper pushed the team all the way to the Devils’ 10-yard line before the Dogs were forced to turn the ball over on downs.
Morgan County held the Devils from scoring in the third quarter, but Elbert made a 55-yard run into the end zone soon after the beginning of the last quarter to make the score 33-0.
The Dogs gained approximately 20 yards on their next drive before a penalty drove them to a fourth down with 21 yards to a first down, and Morgan County punted for the last time in the game.
Elbert scored again on their last drive and made the extra point for a score of 40-0, and, despite advancing 28 yards for their final drive in the last minutes of the game, time ran out of the Bulldogs.
“We put forth really good effort,” said MCHS Head Coach Bill Malone about the Bulldogs’ performance against the Blue Devils.
“We were definitely not going to run with them,” said Malone about Elbert’s speed on the field. “They’re a good offensive football team.”
Next week, the Dogs face the East Jackson Eagles, who have a 1-5 record overall so far this season and are 0-3 in the region. The Eagles will travel to Morgan County for the homecoming game this week.
Click here for more photos from the game.