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Danville rushes to 26-25 victory over Priceville

The Priceville Bulldogs entered Friday’s region game at Danville ranked for the first time since 2015. Standing in their way were the Hawks, who were a game behind the Bulldogs in the region standings.

In the Bulldogs’ first three region games, they used a physical, grind-it-out style to defeat their region foes. On this night, however, Danville stood toe-to-toe with the Bulldogs and found a way to send Priceville home with a loss – their first since losing 41-26 to Good Hope in week one.

Danville got on the board first when Luke Nail ran for a 40-yard touchdown to give the Hawks a 6-0 lead in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs cut into the lead early in the second quarter when JJ Vallejo hit a 30-yard field goal to make the score 6-3, but the Hawks extended their lead to 13-3 following Nail’s second touchdown run of the night – this time from 15 yards out.

Priceville’s Jerry Burton, who entered the game as the leading rusher in north Alabama, was held in check for the majority of the game. He finished with 114 yards rushing on 19 carries and made the biggest play of the first half, as he hauled in a 52-yard touchdown pass from Wyatt Hurt. Following the extra point, Danville led 13-10.

Priceville opened the second half by quickly putting the ball in the endzone. Jaxon Cross capped a five-play scoring drive with a 41-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs a 17-13 lead.

The Hawks would take the lead once again with 1:03 left in the third. Cameron Moore took a handoff and ran 41 yards for a touchdown and a 19-17 lead.

After a Priceville punt, the Hawks extended their lead to 26-17 when Moore scored his second touchdown of the game – this time from 30 yards out – with 7:42 left in the fourth quarter.

Priceville scored 59 seconds later when Burton scored from four yards out. Burton carried the ball four times for 59 yards on the scoring drive. Following a two-point conversion, the Bulldogs cut the lead to 26-25.

The Priceville defense forced the Hawks into a three-and-out on the next drive to give the ball back to the Bulldogs offense for a chance to take the lead.

Danville got the biggest stop of the game with 4:25 left when the Hawks’ Michael Madison recovered a Bulldog fumble on a mishandled handoff.

The Hawks would keep the ball for the rest of the game to hold on to the 26-25 victory.

Nail finished the night with 127 of the Hawks’ 225 yards rushing, while Moore added 98 yards.

With the victory, Danville (4-3, 3-1) moves into a three-way tie for first in Class 4A, Region 7A play with Priceville (4-2, 3-1) and Fairview (4-2, 3-1). The Hawks will host DAR Thursday at 7 p.m.

“I thought our team played a very sloppy game,” said Priceville head coach Chris Foster. “Offensively we put ourselves behind the sticks all night with penalties, mental mistakes and turnovers. Credit to Danville for taking advantage of our turnovers and mistakes. We have to play a lot more disciplined and focused to give ourselves a chance to win.”

Priceville now gets ready for a road trip that historically has been unkind to the Bulldogs in Class 4A, Region 7 play. It starts with a game Friday at North Jackson (1-5, 1-3).

The Bulldogs have a 1-6 all-time against the Chiefs. Their lone win came in 2015, when the Bulldogs won a 43-40 game on their way to a region championship.