By Kelsie Hoitomt
BOYCEVILLE – It was a bit of a bittersweet loss for the Bulldogs last Friday night as they were defeated 14-20 during their own homecoming game against the St. Croix Central Panthers.
The Bulldogs struggled to get the ball into the endzone after passes fell incomplete and their running game was shut down by the Panthers’ defense.
Out of four quarters the Bulldogs only held the ball in their possession for 12 minutes compared to the Panthers’ 36 minutes.
Penalties seemed to plague the team as well, conveniently just as they were in scoring reach. The Bulldogs had seven penalties called for a total of 60 yards.
The game started off with the Panthers receiving the kick and starting their first drive on their own 27 yard line. Quickly two penalties were called, which pushed them to the Bulldogs’ 44 yard line.
Then with it fourth down and one yard to go, the Panthers went for it and were successful. The Panthers would score their first touchdown of the game following this after Trenton Smith ran it into the endzone. The extra point was made by Vincent Sibut-Pinote for a 7-0 lead with 6:45 left in the quarter.
The Bulldogs started their first drive of the game with a big run by Devonta Anderson on the kick return to put the ball on their own 44 yard line.
However, the Bulldogs would be stopped with twelve yards to go so they were forced to punt on fourth down.
The Panthers were shut down quickly on their following possession with the help of a sack on the quarterback by Logan McAbee-Thomas. Then a penalty on their third down would force them to punt.
This would set the Bulldogs up on their 35 yard line for their drive. With a fourth down and two yards to go, the Bulldogs decided to go for it and they were successful on a quarterback keeper by Brady Schutts.
Again fourth down would come up again for the Bulldogs, this time they were sitting on the Panthers 15 yard line with one to go. The first quarter would end and the teams would switch end zones.
Now with the start of the second quarter, McAbee-Thomas ran the ball for the first down and revived the Bulldogs. He would again hold onto the ball, this time for the Bulldogs first touchdown of the game.
The Bulldogs would hold onto their only lead of the game after Schutts tossed the ball up to Brett Boda for the two-point conversion and an 8-7 score with 9:19 left in the half.
The second quarter would conclude with the Bulldogs having two fumbles, one of which was recovered by Central.
That fumble would set the Panthers up for their second touchdown, which was successful after a pass completion by Jason Matteson to Cody Peterson. The extra point was no good, but the Panthers were now ahead 14-8.
The Panthers would kick a field goal with less than a minute on the clock, which resulted in a halftime score of 17-8.
The third quarter would start with the ball in the Bulldogs’ possession. Excitement quickly filled the sidelines and stands after a run by Isaac Wold looked to put the Bulldogs inside the 25 yard line. However, another dreaded flag would be thrown and the call would bring the Bulldogs back to where they started, which forced a punt on fourth down.
The Bulldogs’ defense would hold the Panthers away from the endzone on the following drive, but they were close enough for a field goal, which put the score at 8-20 with just over four minutes left in the quarter.
The quarter would come to end with the Panthers taking over the ball on downs. The final 12 minutes were put on the clock and the ball would be tossed back and forth between both teams for nine straight minutes.
The Bulldogs would finally get a solid grip on the ball with three minutes left in the game as passes from Hunter Anderson were completed to march them towards the endzone.
With less than ten yards standing between the Bulldogs and another touchdown, Anderson drew back and let the ball fly into the arms of Wold for the score.
The two-point conversion fell incomplete, but the Bulldogs were now within one possession of tying the game as the score board read 14-20.
The Panthers would be forced to punt on their next drive and the Bulldogs would have their last chance to tie the game up with 1:55 left on the clock and the ball sitting on their own 42 yard line.
Anderson would again be in control as quarterback and he threw a completion to put the Bulldogs on the Panthers 38.
The ball would then fall incomplete in a last minute scramble to try and score. The Panthers then sacked Anderson, which gave them the ball on downs. The game would end with a kneel down by Central for the somber 14-20 final score.
On the books, the Bulldogs were able to out run the Panthers as they rushed for 161 yards compared to Central’s 119 yards.
On the ground, McAbee-Thomas led the team with 138 yards on 21 attempts. Following was Devonta Anderson with 39 yards.
In the air, it was Boda that had the most yards with 32 on four attempts. Wold also had nine yards and Jordan Morse chalked up six.
At quarterback, Hunter Anderson had four completion on 13 attempts for a total of 38 yards. Schutts had one completion on two attempts for six yards.
The Bulldogs will hit the field again this Friday night for a game in Spring Valley against the Cardinals starting at 7:00 p.m.