Bulldogs shut out Raiders for first victory of the season
Bulldog junior Alex Courtney broke a tackle during a 12-yard run in the first quarter of the Bulldogs’ win over Immaculata 37-0. Courtney had 155 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. Courtney also converted two two-point tries.
Story and photo by Dennis Sharkey
A strong defensive performance propelled the McLouth Bulldogs past the Immaculata Raiders 37-0 on Friday for the Bulldogs’ first win of the season.
Head Coach Chris Stewart began from scratch last year starting a lot of freshmen and sophomores out of necessity and only winning one game. Many times the Bulldogs were on the wrong end of a shut out last year but got to deliver their own on Friday.
“I’ve told them all along that they were a lot better than what they were playing and I think now they’re beginning to realize it,” Stewart said after the game. “They can play with a lot of good teams. I don’t know how many games we’re going to win this year but the progression is there where they’re improving each week.”
The turning point in the game came late in the second quarter after the Bulldogs fumbled the ball on their first play and set up Immaculata with a first and goal at the Bulldog three-yard line.
The Bulldogs had just completed a defensive stand at their goal line but had to go back out and do it again.
Immaculata ran the ball on first down to the Bulldogs’ half-yard line. However, on second down McLouth’s Alex Courtney sacked Immaculata quarterback Brandon Wall for a loss back at the three-yard line. A pass fell incomplete on third down and the Bulldogs called a time out before the Raiders could run a fourth-down play. The Bulldogs stopped the Raiders on the next play and took an 8-0 lead into halftime.
“That was big,” Stewart said. “Anytime you can stop someone that’s got four downs on the two yard line and do that, that’s a momentum changer right there. It was a close game at that point in time and it really gave our kids a lot of confidence.”
The Bulldogs had problems keeping drives alive in the first half because of a lack of protection and some untimely penalties.
However, the Bulldogs’ defense held the Raiders in check by forcing two fumbles of their own, both knocked out by Alex Courtney and recovered by Wyatt Farris and the Bulldogs had an 8-0 halftime lead.
Last week the Bulldogs had a halftime lead over Valley Falls but fell flat in the second half when the game was resumed.
Trevor Roberts got the Bulldogs off to a fast start in the second half by returning the kick off 43 yards to the Immaculata 49-yard line. The Bulldogs faced a fourth down at the Raiders’ 15-yard line but this time Shawn Dailey would run six yards up the middle to set up his own nine-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs some breathing room and a 16-0 lead. Dailey finished the game with 100 yards on 12 carries.
The Bulldogs’ defense would force a three and out by the Raiders but again penalties would bite the Bulldogs as a 54-yard touchdown run by Roberts was called back because of an illegal block and the drive stalled.
Again, the Bulldogs’ defense forced a three and out by the Raiders’ offense but the Bulldogs’ next drive stalled and the ball was turned over on downs back to the Raiders.
Another three and out by the Raiders offense combined with a punt that only netted nine yards set up the Bulldogs’ offense at the Immaculata 44. Two plays later Bulldog quarterback Marc Walbridge hooked up with Roberts for a 42-yard touchdown. Alex Courtney converted the two-point try, his second conversion to go along with two touchdowns and 155 yards, and the Bulldogs had a 24-0 lead with just under 11 minutes left in the game.
The Raiders had a brief uplift when #7 intercepted Walbridge on the Bulldogs’ next possession, however McLouth’s Dakota Kop knocked the ball free and Bradley Sullivan recovered the Bulldogs’ third fumble of the night.
With just under three minutes left in the game Cody McHenry picked up the fourth fumble lost by the Raiders and retuned it to the Raiders’ three-yard line. Drew Cerny added a final touchdown.
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