Priceville uses big plays to down West Morgan

TRINITY – Big plays came early and often for the Priceville Bulldogs against West Morgan.

Priceville had two players rush for more than 100 yards each, as the Bulldogs defeated rival West Morgan 48-35 to open the regular season.

Priceville coach Dirk Strunk said his team made enough plays to win the game, despite nearly blowing a 20-point second quarter lead and an 18-point advantage in the fourth quarter.

“We let them stick around,” Strunk said. “If we’d have done what we needed to do and shut the door there early in the second quarter, this wouldn’t have even been in question,” Strunk said. “We fiddle-farted around. The next thing you know, I’m sitting here saying in the fourth quarter, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. I should not be this stressed at this point in time.’

“But I’m very proud of our kids. They fought through it. We feel this is a very special bunch. We feel that we have a lot of possibilities, but you know we’re taking it one week at a time.”

Quarterback Kaleb Barker said the team came together for the win.

“The O-line did a great job tonight,” Barker said. “They did a great job opening up holes. And Ben (Patterson) was great again tonight. Special teams won this game.”

Patterson certainly did his part in the win. Wearing the number that Faulker signee Nick Bell wore a season ago, Patterson did many of the same things that Bell did last year. He returned a punt 52 yards for paydirt and a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown, which stopped the bleeding for Priceville and gave the Bulldogs a 33-22 halftime advantage.

“The front line just blocked,” Patterson said. “I had all kinds of room. I could have went any direction I wanted because of the blocks I had set up. All of the special teams all around scored those two touchdowns.”

Priceville led by a 20-0 margin moments into the second quarter, thanks to the punt return and long touchdown runs by Barker and running back Zac Smith.

West Morgan rallied with back-to-back touchdowns. One of which was set up by a Priceville fumble.

Another big kickoff return by Patterson set up Smith’s second touchdown, a 3-yard run with 2:02 left in the first half.

West Morgan cut the lead to 26-22 on a 14-yard touchdown pass with just over a minute left in the second quarter.

But that’s when Patterson and the special teams got the momentum back with the kickoff return touchdown.

After both teams combined for 42 points in the second quarter, both teams were scoreless in the third quarter.

Barker broke that drought by completing an 8-yard touchdown pass to Luke Mason. Lamar Burch added the extra point to make it 40-22 moments into the fourth quarter.

West Morgan didn’t give up. They cut the lead to 12 with a 41-yard touchdown run.

The Rebels then recovered an onside kick and then quickly drove it down for another touchdown with 1:30 left in the game.

Priceville finally put the game out of reach after recovering the onside kick. Then, Smith burst through the defense for a 46-yard touchdown. Burch added a two-point conversion for the final points of the night.

“I really didn’t expect it,” Smith said. “The line created a hole. I guess they thought Kaleb Barker was going to kneel it. I just took advantage.

“Our goal is to get to 15. You have to start with the first one.”

Next week, the Bulldogs will take on Rogers. Strunk expects the region opener to be another tough game.

“Hey, Rogers is a heck of a team,” Strunk said. “We’re going to have to play very physical against them because a physical ball club. We can’t sit there and play passive and wait for things to happen. We’ve got to make things happen.”



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