Tiger run game sinks ‘Dogs
Priceville’s game plan for Ardmore was simple: Snap the ball to QB Chance Ellsworth and let him rifle it downfield to one of his speedy receivers.
The result was amazing: 29 of 44 completions for 270 yards and three touchdowns.
Ardmore’s game plan was just as simple: Give the ball to Gavin Calder and let him run with it.
The result was mind-boggling: 37 carries for 315 yards and five touchdowns.
Neither team could distance itself from the other throughout the regional battle with the visiting Tigers coming out on top at the end, 47-40.
“We keep competing and we’re getting better but our guys have got to start making plays early on in the game,” said Priceville head coach Dirk Strunk. “We can’t afford to be slow coming out of the gate against the teams we’re playing.
“You’ve got to hand it to Ardmore. The have good athletes and Coach (Shannon) Brown does a good job coaching them. They came out strong and did what they had to do to win.”
“I’m not pleased with the outcome but I’m proud of our guys for the way they fought to the end,” Strunk added.
Coach Brown also complimented the Bulldogs for their performance after the game.
“In the game of football there has to be a winner,” Brown said. “However, in a game that is fought as hard as this one was tonight, it’s a shame both can’t be winners.”
The Bulldogs struck first blood after Harold Blades returned the opening kickoff 59 yards and Nick Bell booted a 25-yard field goal to give his team a 3-0 lead.
Ardmore answered by marching 79 yards in nine plays and taking a 6-3 lead behind the running of Calder. He ran every play of the drive and reached the end zone on a 4-yard run. The extra point try failed.
The Bulldogs cashed in a 45-yard drive in five plays on their second possession and regained the lead on a 20-yard pass from Ellsworth to Blades. Bell booted the extra point to give his team a 10-6 advantage with 11:53 left in the second quarter.
The Tigers answered with their second touchdown a couple of minutes later, scoring on a 37-yard Calder run. A two-point conversion attempt failed and the visitors went back on top 12-10 with 9:14 left in the first half. They scored again with 4:09 left in the half on a 16-yard run by Calder and were up 19-10 at halftime.
The Bulldogs narrowed Ardmore’s lead to 19-17 by scoring on their first possession of the second half. Ellsworth hooked up with Blades on a 35-yard pass to cap a 74-yard drive in four plays, and Bell kicked the PAT with 7:37 left in the third quarter.
The visitors answered with a touchdown drive of their own, marching 79 yards in five plays and scoring on a 40-yard run by Cody Begoney. Jacob Petritsch added the extra point to make the score 26-17.
The Bulldogs responded by marching 65 yards in four plays and scoring on a 1-yard run by Forrest Clemons. His run came with 3:40 left in the third period and was followed by Bell’s extra point, pulling the Bulldogs to within two points at 26-24.
Ardmore widened its lead to 33-24 on the strength of a 78-yard pass from Calder to Zack Ellis and went up 40-24 on a 21-yard Calder run with 6:59 left in the game.
The Bulldogs bounced back by scoring on a 29-yard pass from Ellsworth to Bell with 5:18 left in the game and converting a 2-point play to make the score 40-32.
After an ensuring onside kick was ruled out of bounds at midfield, the Tigers punched the ball into the end zone for the seventh time. Calder scored his 5th touchdown on a 24-yard run and Petritsch booted the extra point to give his team a 47-32 advantage.
The Bulldogs struck back by marching 67 yards in 10 plays and scoring their final TD on a 2-yard run by Ellsworth with 1:06 left in the gamer. Bell’s extra point made the score 47-40.
Blades had his best receiving performance of the season, catching 13 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Patterson had four catches for 66 yards and Bell had three catches for 45 yards and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs will travel to Brooks, another regional opponent, Friday night.