BY LINDA JACOBS
CORRIGAN—The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs overcame adversity and a first half deficit to defeat the Kountze Lions 28-20 at Bulldog Stadium Friday night.
The Lions outscored Corrigan in the first half after the home team failed to score inside the five yard line on their opening drive of the game. The Bulldogs would trail at the break, 13-6.
Both sides of the ball turned the intensity level up in the second half and outscored the visiting Lions 22-7. The 'Dogs played solid defense, stopping the Lions twice on fourth downs and intercepting two passes in the fourth quarter to halt potential scoring drives.
"We showed some heart tonight and that was good to see," commented Corrigan head coach Seven Armstrong, whose team improves to 3-1 for the season.
"We shut them out in the second half. We've come a long way defensively and we're playing pretty good defense now. We especially did in the second half tonight."
The Lions fared better in the first half by both means of transportation, accumulating 142 yards through the air and 80 yards on the ground. It was a different story in the second half as the Corrigan defense limited sophomore quarterback Dallion Edwards (15-of-31) to just 84 passing yards, while the ground game totaled just 26 yards.
"We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times offensively," said Armstrong. "We're driving the ball in the first half and get down to I think the four yard line and get stuffed."
A fumble in the second half gave the Lions their only points in the final two frames. Grayland Arnold, who caught two scoring tosses from Edwards, stripped the ball from Bulldog quarterback LaKendrick Moore and returned the miscue 77 yards for a Lion touchdown and 20-12 advantage late in the third quarter.
"We're shoving it down their throat and he pulls it out of LaKendrick's hands, it was just a bad break," said Armstrong. "He was fighting for extra yards and just got stripped.
"He's a player," referring to Arnold. "He's a great football player and he made a play on that one.
"We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times, but overall, I'm very pleased with the heart our kids showed tonight."
The two teams mirrored one another for most of the first half. Both teams were stopped on fourth down plays inside each other's territory on opening drives. Kountze was halted at the Corrigan 37 and the Bulldogs failed to hit paydirt after having a first and goal at the Kountze seven yard line.
The next two drives ended in punts for both teams.
After a scoreless first quarter, it was a big play by Edwards and Arnold that put the Lions on the scoreboard first. Edwards connected a 35-yard strike to Arnold who caught the pass running down the right sideline ahead of a Bulldog defender to go in untouched for six with 7:58 left in the second quarter. An attempted two-point conversion failed to leave the Lions with a 6-0 lead.
The Bulldogs answered on the next series to knot the score at six apiece with 4:45 remaining in the half. The drive covered just 49 yards following a squib kick by the Lions.
Malyk Johnson had four carries on the drive, including the touchdown on a five yard tote. Johnson would finish with 183 yards on 23 carries to be the game's leading rusher.
The Lions started their next possession from their own 49 yard line with 4:34 on the clock. QB Edwards completed four passes on the drive with two of the tosses going for 20 and 23 yards. His fourth pass came under intense pressure by the Bulldog defense, but it was tossed to receiver Dylan Ainsworth who was open in the end zone with just 26 seconds left in the half. An extra point gave the Lions a 13-6 halftime lead.
Jaylon Williams returned the second half kickoff 63 yards to set the Bulldogs up for the first of three touchdowns. Williams advanced the ball from his own 12 to the Kountze 25.
Malyk Johnson rambled for 13 yards on second down to take the ball to the eight yard line. Two plays later, LaKendrick Moore scored on a five yard keeper. Johnson was stopped on the two-point conversion to leave the 'Dogs trailing the Lions, 13-12.
The Bulldog defense forced the Lions to punt on the next series of downs. Corrigan took over at their own 33 and picked up two first downs to move the ball to the Kountze 27. The sixth play of the drive is when Arnold stripped the ball and ran 77 yards in the opposite direction for a touchdown to extend the Lions lead to 20-12.
The play would be the Lions last productive of the night. The Bulldog defense stopped Kountze on fourth down at the Corrigan 37 and later at the Kountze 33. Both LaKendrick Moore and Jaylon Williams make key interceptions in the fourth quarter to help secure the victory.
Following the Arnold fumble return, the Bulldogs marched 62 yards in seven plays and scored on a 29 yard run by Malyk Johnson to knot the score at 20-all with 11:36 left in the game.
Kountze advanced to the Corrigan 37 on the next series, but one short run by Edwards and three incomplete passes gave the ball back to the Bulldogs.
Corrigan was unable to move the ball and Kountze took over at their own 17 with 8:16 left in the game. On the third play of the drive LaKendrick Moore intercepted Edwards and returned the pick to the Kountze 41 yard line.
Malyk Johnson scored on the very first play from scrimmage, escaping down the left sideline for his third touchdown. He also scored the two-point run to give the Bulldogs a 28-20 advantage.
The Lions came up short on their final two drives of the ball game. First, they failed on fourth down at their own 33 with just over six minutes left to play.
Their last possession went from their own 25 to the Bulldog 17 before Edwards was picked off by Jaylon Williams near the 10 yard line with 27 seconds left in the game.
QB Moore had to take just one snap from center Alex Vance for the clock to expire with a 28-20 Bulldog victory.