November 3, 2011

Bulldogs Bounce SCR-I From State Playoffs With 29-20 Defeat

Mother Nature did more than enough to dampen the spirits Wednesday night at the Scotland County R-I football field, but it was Louisiana that truly rained on the Tigers parade as the Bulldogs bounced SCR-I from the state playoffs with a 29-20 defeat.

Louisiana, the runner up in Class 1 District 9, took the opening kickoff and marched down the field behind the running of quarterback Greg Pitzer and fullback Austin Rule.

Pitzer capped off the drive with a 22-yard touchdown run with 7:38 left in the first period. The Bulldogs caught a break, when SCR-I was flagged for roughing the kicker on a failed point after attempt. Brandan Ross made good of his second chance, sending the PAT kick through the uprights to make the score 7-0.

The Tigers went three and out on offense, and Louisiana went right back to work with the rushing attack. A quick trip past midfield forced coach Brent Bondurant to call a timeout to try and ally his defense. The move worked, as Zach Miller woke up his team with a hard hit on the next play. Two snaps later, Harley Stone pounced on a Louisiana fumble to give SCR-I life.

The momentum was short lived however, as Scotland County turned the ball over on a fumble of its own.

The Bulldogs took advantage of the short field. A quick scoring drive was finished off by a one-yard TD run by Rule. The PAT kick by Rule made it 14-0 with 21.3 seconds left in the opening period.

Scotland County was unable to get anything going on offense, and made matters worse with a fumbled snap on the punt attempt.

Louisiana looked poised to blow the game wide open, moving into position for the third touchdown of the first half. But the Bulldogs were turned back when Z. Miller intercepted a pass in the end zone with 6:33 left in the second period.

SCR-I took advantage of the opportunity, when Z. Miller took a handoff on an end around run and broke down the SCR-I sideline for 36-yard gain. Brock Bondurant scored on a 24-yard run just two plays later, but the score was nullified by a holding penalty. Louisiana then held on downs, ending the scoring threat as the clouds finally opened up and the steady drizzle that had fallen most of the contest turned into a heavy rain and high winds.

The Tigers defense forced the third turnover of the first half, when Will McRobert recovered a fumble.

This time, the Tigers would not be turned back. Bondurant connected with Drew Miller on a 21-yard touchdown pass with 1:06 left in the second period. Harley Stone's PAT kick was no good leaving the score at 14-6.

Louisiana nearly took advantage of the remaining minute despite having no timeouts remaining. The Bulldogs moved the ball into scoring position before finally running out of clock.

Scotland County took the opening kick of the second half but went three and out on offense.

Louisiana moved the chains several times behind the solid ground attack of Rue. But SCR-I caught yet another break when McRobert came up with his second fumble recovery of the night.

SCR-I failed to take advantage of the turnover and punted the ball away midway through the third period.

Rue scored on a 17-yard TD run with 1:35 left in the quarter. Pitzer connected with Colby Garrison on a pass for the two-point conversion to extend the lead to 23-6.

SCR-I was poised to answer when Laden Holt broke free on a 41-yard run, but Garrison made a touchdown-saving tackle at the nine-yard line for Louisiana. That proved big, as Louisiana's defense turned away the Tigers on downs.

Scotland County jumped right back into the contest on the next play when Monte Sally recovered a Louisiana fumble at the five yard line.

Harley Stone scored on a four-yard TD run with 9:13 left in the contest. The Bulldogs stopped the two-point attempt, preserving a 22-12 lead.

Scotland County came up with a big stop on defense, and Taylor Rader partially blocked the Bulldogs punt. Z. Miller snatched the shortened kick and ran it back across midfield.

But the turnover bug bit SCR-I, as the Tigers fumbled on the next snap.

Louisiana capitalized on the mistake. Rue broke a 34-yard TD run with 4:08 left in the game to push the lead to 29-12 following the PAT kick by Ross.

Scotland County refused to go quietly. The Tigers scored on a one-yard run by Bondurant with 48.2 seconds left. Even after Z. Miller scored the two-point conversion, SCR-I still needed two scores in the final minute.

The Bulldogs recovered the onside kick attempt and ran out the clock on the 29-20 win.

Louisiana racked up 16 first downs on the night with more than 300 yards rushing. Rue had a huge second half, finishing with 170 yards and two TDs on 20 carries. Pitzer finished with 84 yards and a TD on 13 attempts. He also completed three of four passes for 39 yards. Rule had 55 yards and a TD on 12 attempts.

SCR-I finished with nine first downs and just over 260 yards of total offense. Bondurant ran the ball 12 times for 55 yards and a TD. He completed six of 11 passes for 58 yards and a score. Holt ran the ball four times for 44 yards. Stone finished with 27 yards and a TD on six attempts. D. Miller caught two passes for 23 yards and a TD. Z. Miller had 33 yards receiving and 36 yards rushing.

South Shelby knocked off Knox County 39-8 to set up a rematch between the two District 9 teams. The Cardinals will host Louisiana on Monday night.

In other Class 1 action Salisbury beat Marceline 35-7 and Westran handled Milan 39-0.

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