Bulldogs remain undefeated with win over Raiders

Published 8:55 am Monday, October 12, 2015

Star Photo/Bryce Phillips Players scramble to capture the ball after it is knocked loose.

Star Photo/Bryce Phillips
Players scramble to capture the ball after it is knocked loose.

The Hampton Bulldogs left no question as to who rules Region 1-AA football as they defeated the Sullivan North Golden Raiders 42-21 Friday night at the Doghouse.
On a night were the rain played a huge part, both teams stuck to the ground game. The Bulldogs finished the evening with 385 yards of rushing on 46 carries. Jerry Lunsford led the ground assault with 160 yards on 15 carries, while senior QB Coby Jones pitched in 133 yards on 14 carries. On 16 carries, Adam McClain posted 92 yards.
For Lunsford, it was fun playing in the rain.
“It was wet,” Lunsford said about the playing conditions. “It was just a messy game, but t was definitely fun to play in, with the weather and it being such a big game. Playing a team that is 6-0 and getting the victory is huge.”
On the Raiders’ side of the ball, Sullivan North racked up 303 yards on 50 carries, with Zack Byrns finishing with 85 yards on eight carries.
With the wet conditions, the Bulldogs only threw the ball six times, and only completed two passes, one of which was a TD pass from Jones to Jared Wiltshire.
On their first drive, the Sullivan North Raiders were forced to punt, giving Hampton the ball on its own 26.
The Bulldogs, however, had some offensive woes on their first drive, being forced to punt the ball on fourth and three. Jones booted a 62-yard punt to set the Raiders up on their own five-yard line.
After two plays, North found themselves own the 11-yard line. On third and three, the Raiders’ Zack Byrns was handed the ball but did not hold on to it for long as he fumbled, allowing the Bulldogs to recover and set up shop on the Raiders’ 16-yard line.
With the ball deep in Raiders’ territory, the Bulldogs pounded their way into the end zone, with Adam McClain pushing in a 1-yard TD run. With the point after no good, the ’Dogs score advanced to 6-0.
On their next drive, the Raiders fumbled the ball again, giving the Bulldogs the ball on North’s 31. After two rushes by Hampton’s Coby Jones for 28 yards, the ’Dogs placed the ball on the Raiders’ five, and in two plays, the Bulldogs were in the end zone again, with Lunsford driving in a one-yarder. With the two-point conversion good, the Bulldogs were up 14-0
The two turnovers by the Raiders played a crucial role in a game that might have been closer.
“Turnovers were probably a big difference in the game,” Hampton Coach Mike Lunsford said. “They moved the ball and we moved the ball and it was back and forth. They were a lot bigger than us and we made some plays.
We made them fumble,” Lunsford added. “We hit them when they fumbled. It wasn’t like a fluke. We knocked the ball loose. The defense did an unbelievable job.”
On their next drive, the Raiders were able to finally put up some points as they drove from their own 24 to Hampton’s 16-yard line, before booting in a field goal to move the score to 14-3.
The Bulldogs scored one more time in the first half, with Jones connecting a 16-yard TD pass to Jared Wiltshire, putting the Bulldogs up 20-3 going into the half.
In the second half, the Bulldogs put the pedal to the medal. In the third quarter the ’Dogs posted 22 points to widen the gap. The first TD was a 73-yard rushing score from Jerry Lunsford. Jones tacked on his own long TD, with a 39-yard rushing score.
In the fourth quarter, the Raiders posted two touchdowns to close the gap, but the Bulldogs held on to prevail.
With the win, the Bulldogs move to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Region 1-AA football as they get a grasp on the No. 1 spot. The Raiders’ record fell to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the conference as they rest at second.
Next up for the Bulldogs will be a home game against South Greene this Friday.

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