Turnovers haunt Bulldogs in homecoming loss to Madison County
Joe Holmes, Enquirer Correspondent
Madison County took advantage of three Priceville turnovers to build a 21-0 halftime lead, then cruised on to a 41-14 victory over the Bulldogs Friday night in Priceville.
With a capacity homecoming crowd looking on, Priceville held the visitors at bay for much of the first quarter. However, the Tigers scored with 50 seconds left following the first Bulldog miscue. T.J. Gurley hit Jason Smith with a 27-yard strike to put six on the board. Jacob Hillis booted the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
Madison County’s Tim Pruitt then scored on a 15-yard fumble return at the 8:34 mark of the second quarter. The extra point was again good and the Tigers led 14-0.
Looking to swing the momentum back in their favor, the Bulldogs went for broke on the last play of the first half. Instead, Gurley picked off the pass and returned it 40 yards for a 21-0 lead at the break.
Something in head coach Donald Weeks’ halftime talk got the attention of the home team as the Bulldogs came out with a strong opening second-half drive and posted their first points of the night. Quarterback Will Stevens picked up the touchdown from 1-yard out and Lance Hughes added the extra point to cut the lead to 21-7 with 4:11 left in the third.
Madison County answered with a 1-yard run by A.C. Collier just two minutes later.
Priceville was not finished. Stevens hooked up with Rand Hutchison from 21 yards out to post another Bulldog score with 9:14 left in the final quarter, but that was the final points Priceville could muster.
Madison County rounded out the evening’s scoring with a 1-yard run by David Sloan and a 12-yard run by Collier to make the final 41-14.
Statistically the game was much closer. Priceville picked up 12 first downs to Madison County’s 10 and gained 137 yards on 40 rushes and 61 passing yards on four completions. Madison County churned out only 43 more offensive yards than Priceville for a total of 241; 183 came on the ground and 58 through the air.
Turnovers proved to be the difference. Priceville lost two of three fumbles and suffered three interceptions on the evening.
Eli Allen led the Bulldogs’ rushing attack with 65 yards on 15 carries. Stevens completed four passes for 61 yards. For Madison County, Collier had 27 carries for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
On a brighter note, senior Christina Battle was crowned the 2006 Priceville Homecoming Queen during festive halftime ceremonies. Whitley Scruggs was named first alternate and Christen Holmes took second alternate.
Priceville will travel to Ardmore Friday night while Madison County entertains East Limestone.