Bulldogs second half surge knocks off South Greene

Published 9:36 am Monday, October 30, 2023

STAR CORRESPONDENT

Despite holding South Greene to zero rushing yards in the first half, Hampton found themselves trailing 7-6 at the half. The Bulldogs (8-2 overall, 5-0 MEC) rallied in the second half behind 210 rush yards from junior Dominique Burleson to take the Mountain East Conference title with a 32-14 victory.

Second quarter sees Rebels take halftime lead

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JJ McElyea got the ‘Dogs on the scoreboard in the second quarter on a 19-yard end-around run. The point after kick sailed wide and the Bulldogs settled for a 6-0 advantage. The Rebels (8-2 overall, 3-2 MEC) took advantage of a Hampton miscue on a punt attempt as the ball sailed over Noah Nichols’s head and the Rebels took possession at the Hampton eight-yard line.

On fourth down, South Greene quarterback Jacob Susong found WR Dion Blair in the back of the endzone and Brant Wilhoit kicked the point after for a 7-6 South Greene lead at the half.

“We battled and we kind of went back and forth in the first half,” Bulldogs head coach Michael Lunsford said. “We didn’t know what kind of team they wanted to be – a passing team or running team and what we thought they would do to us – but we decided to stop the run game and that worked in our favor.”

Third quarter Burleson opens up ‘Dogs run attack

Burleson took over in the third quarter with 37 yards on seven carries leading to senior quarterback Dylan Trivett’s eight-yard scoring run to stake the ‘Dogs to a 12-7 lead. Minutes later, Burleson scored on a 45-yard fumble return after scooping up an errant lateral from Susong to give Hampton an 18-7 advantage.

“We told the line at the half that we are better than them and if you give me a little extra push, I’ll get the yards,” Burleson said. “It may be 100 yards or it may be three, but I promise you we’ll get it done.”

Fourth quarter closes out the contest

After a sack of Susong by Jaylen Burleson stopped the next Rebels drive, Dom took over and capped a 58-yard drive with a one-yard scoring plunge that gave the ‘Dogs a 24-7 lead to open the fourth quarter.

South Greene then had its best drive of the game as the Rebels opened up the pass game and Susong completed four consecutive passes culminating in his miracle touchdown toss. South Greene had the ball at the Hampton 10-yard line when Susong went back to pass and was pressured by Geno Carrico.

As he was being sacked Susong tossed up a prayer of a pass that junior WR Trey Gentry caught and after getting a block from Blair, raced the final five yards for the touchdown. Wilhoit’s PAT kick made it a 24-14 contest with 7:26 showing on the game clock.

The Bulldogs then went on a time-consuming 11-play, 60-yard drive that McElyea capped off with a second end-around score from 11 yards out. Trivett scored the deuce on a run play for the final margin of victory.

“It’s great to get this win over a talented South Greene team,” Trivett said. “We just got to get back to the lab and get back to the chalkboard and study up on our next foe. McElyea is a great athlete and that’s a play we have run successfully. It’s not anything we drew up on the fly; we have that play and have used it before.”

Hampton 32-14

South Greene 0 7 0 7 – 14

Hampton 0 6 12 14 – 32

Scoring Summary

Second Quarter

H – McElyea 19 run (kick failed) 9:33

S – Blair 4 pass from Susong (Wilhoit kick) 1:15

Third Quarter

H – Trivett 8 run (run failed) 4:11

H – Burleson 45 fumble return (run failed) 3:19

Fourth Quarter

H – Burleson 1 run (pass failed) 9:43

S – Gentry 10 pass from Susong (Wilhoit kick) 7:24

H – McElyea 11 run (Trivett run) :27

Individual Statistics

RUSHING

S – Neas 9-13, Susong 4-11. H – Burleson 38-210, Trivett 12-73, McElyea 2-20, Carrico 2-3.

PASSING

S – Susong 8-15, 105 yards, 2 TD, 1 int. H – Trivett 0-3, 0 yards.

RECEIVING

S – Gentry 3-43, Neas 2-32, Blair 1-4, Lane 1-10, Robinson 1-16.