Bulldogs face off with Rebels for Region 1-2A title

Published 10:28 am Wednesday, October 25, 2023

STAR CORRESPONDENT

The Region 1-2A conference title is up for grabs on Friday night when South Greene invades JC Campbell Stadium for a clash with Hampton. The Rebels (8-1, 3-1 conference) have been an on-again, off-again conference foe for the Bulldogs and this year, they are back in.

The two face off for the first time since 2020 when the Rebels took a 35-31 win.

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“They are a polar opposite of us in some ways and a mirror image in another,” Bulldogs head coach Michael Lunsford said. “They are a very tough, hard-nosed team that is well coached. They look for the big play and we play more power football.”

Hampton (7-2, 4-0 conference) has been an offensive powerhouse over the last five games, scoring 50 or more points in every contest and has won six in a row. Junior RB Dominique Burleson has been a revelation for the ‘Dogs with over 1,000 yards rushing and multiple touchdown runs.

Senior QB Dylan Trivett has been steady, if not spectacular, during the win streak, with rushing and passing touchdowns coming in bunches and Geno Carrico has had several high points on offense and especially on defense with a pair of interceptions.

The ‘Dogs come in averaging 41.4 points per game scoring while giving up 16.1 points defensively, while South Greene has had a 35.7 scoring average while surrendering 15.0 points on defense.

Luke Myers runs the Rebels offense from his QB position and is a standout on the defensive side of the ball as well.

The last win for Hampton over the Rebels came in 2019 by a 30-0 score and was part of an eight-game win streak by the ‘Dogs, who fell 14-12 to Oneida in the second round of the TSSAA playoffs.

This has been an evenly matched series, with South Greene winning in 2018 by a 36-30 tally and Hampton taking a 46-13 win in 2017 and a 59-20 win in 2016.

One pitfall the Bulldogs must avoid is penalties. They were hit with six penalties in the Unaka game with two unsportsmanlike flags, but the Rebels have been equally penalized, with one player being ejected from the Rebels 26-20 loss at Happy Valley.

“We have to have enough sense to not get caught up in that kind of thing,” Lunsford said. “We have to walk away when the game gets heated and not retaliate.”

As far as playoff seeding goes Lunsford said, “You always want to be the highest seed. We have had three straight games at home in front of our great fans and we would like to have at least three more.”

Game time is 7 pm.