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Priceville drops close game to Hanceville

By Staff
Joe Holmes, Enquirer Correspondent
HANCEVILLE – Despite allowing only 117 yards of offense for the home team Hanceville, the Priceville Bulldogs dropped their season-opener 6-3 Friday night.
"We have to protect the football," head coach Marty Chambers said. "When you get inside the 10 (yard line) twice and fail to score, it will always come back to haunt you."
Fumbles and penalties combined to keep Priceville out of the end zone, even though at times the offense moved the ball well. Defensively, Chambers said he was happy with the effort.
"When you hold a team to 117 yards and six points, you expect to win," he said.
After swapping possessions in the first quarter, cornerback Jason Hamilton intercepted a Corey Copeland pass to set up the Priceville offense at its own 33. Quarterback Hunter Teague and running backs Eli Allen and J.R. Westmoreland methodically moved the Bulldogs down the field to set up Brad Helton's 26-yard field goal attempt.
Helton split the uprights to put the visitors up 3-0 at the 8:36 mark of the second quarter.
The Priceville defense continued its domination behind the steady line play of Jonathan Hopkins and a secondary that refused to allow Copeland a completion during the first half.
Opportunity came knocking early in the second half when Hanceville fumbled a punt snap deep in their own territory.
Hamilton nailed the punter at the Hanceville 5-yard line to put the Priceville offense in business with a first-and-goal.
Allen would take it in on the second play of the series, but a 15-yard holding penalty negated the score and pushed the Bulldogs back to the Hanceville 20. After a second holding penalty, and facing third-and-goal from the 35-yard-line, Teague's pass to Helton was picked off to end the drive.
The Bulldog defense continued to hold Hanceville at bay through the excellent punts of Helton, and defensive plays by Chase Martin, Jeremy Holloway and Wesley Long.
Heading into the final quarter and with Priceville nursing a three-point lead, Hanceville suddenly found its offensive rhythm and moved the ball to the Priceville 4-yard line. Preston Smith took it in from there to give Hanceville the lead with just 3:54 left in the game.
The Bulldogs broke up the two-point conversion to leave the score Hanceville 6, Priceville 3.
Determined to rally, Priceville turned to sophomore quarterback Will Stephens when Teague was sidelined with a concussion. After Aaron Sawyer returned Hanceville's kickoff to the Hanceville 48, Stephens and his teammates moved the ball to the Hanceville 36 until turning it over on downs.
Out of timeouts, the Bulldogs could only watch as Hanceville killed the remaining seconds off the clock and took the win.
Allen picked up 80 yards on 13 carries. Westmoreland added 38 yards on 10 carries. Teague finished the evening with 23 yards on 2-of-7 passing. The Bulldogs picked up 10 first downs on the evening to 10 for Hanceville.
Helton had four punts for an average of 35 yards and was good on his lone field goal attempt from 26 yards out.
Lamar County visits Priceville this week for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

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