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Dawgs flat in 21-point loss to West

When the clock finally struck 00:00 on Bearden’s eminently forgettable 34-13 Homecoming loss to neighborhood rival West, a 10-0 first quarter Bulldogs lead looked light years away, perhaps as far back as Septem-ber.

The black jerseys also made an appearance, but were no help, either.

Turnovers did the Bulldogs (6-3 overall, 3-3 in 4-AAA) in: three interceptions and two lost fumbles plus a blocked punt.

But make no mistake about it, West (7-2, 4-2) came off the mat and dominated the game for the final three quarters. It was no contest the final 36 minutes.

It was a loss that left nearly everyone connected with the Bulldog program scratching their heads and wondering how it all came about.

No one was talking playoffs, instead thinking overtime about how it all got away.

That group included head coach Brad Taylor.

“Turnovers tell the tale,” he said. “That was awful. They didn’t do anything differently than they did on the first two drives where we scored.”

The Bulldogs got off to a fast start, taking their first possession in for a score. The drive was keyed by a Kyle Riemer scramble that led to a 20-yard pass to Samuel Manuel, extra-effort runs for 19 and 24 by Devrin Young, who carried 27 times for 147 yards but never seemed to really hit his stride. Josh Haney found the end zone from 2 yards out and it was 7-0 with 5:44 left.

Bearden headed goalward on its next possession, with a Riemer pass to Tyler Callaway covering 26 yards and Kyle finding open spaces for another 11.

Bearden got as close as the Rebel 1, but lost a Riemer touchdown to an illegal procedure penalty. The drive ended with a Ben Sisco field goal from 23 yards out.

That was it for the Bearden offense until Sisco knocked home another field goal from 43 yards out with 7:23 left in the third period.

“It wasn’t our night,” Riemer said. “We weren’t executing to our potential. We weren’t mentally there. We just shot ourselves in the foot with all the turnovers. You worry about what’s in the past and it’s only going to hurt you in the future.”

In between, there were critical turnovers that turned the game around: an interception, a fumble, a blocked punt, another interception and another fumble.

That turned a 10-0 lead into a 21-10 deficit by halftime.

“You can’t do much when you have that many turnovers,” Drew Williamson, a warrior on both sides of the ball all night, said. “We knew they had some talented linemen they were going to run behind, and they succeeded. They’re a good team. It’s a tough one, but I believe we’re a better team coming out of it.”

Bearden had a promising drive to start the third quarter, but lost the opportunity on downs at the West 23.

The Bulldogs recovered a West fumble on the next play, but had to settle for Sisco’s second field goal, failing to convert on a significant opportunity.

Bearden lost another interception that led to a 5-yard drive and a touchdown that made it 27-13 with 3:09 left in the third period.

West got the final score of the game early in the fourth, before a scary moment when an unidentified West player went down and left the field on a stretcher headed to the hospital.

Taylor indicated that there was “no magic wand that you can wave.”

The solution is simple, he said.

“We have to go back to work. We have to take care of the football. If we execute the way we are capable, we’d be OK. We quit doing that. We just didn’t play well.”

The regular season finale against Knoxville Catholic takes place next Friday night, Oct. 29, at Bill Young Field. Opening kickoff time is 7:30 p.m.


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