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Haney, Dawgs capture 4-AAA shootout at W-Blount

MARYVILLE — Josh Haney rushed 23 times for 223 yards and scored three touchdowns here Friday night as Bearden (2-1, 1-0) outlasted homestanding William Blount 41-33.

The Bulldogs broke from a 7-7 first quarter deadlock and never trailed thereafter, but the Governors kept Bearden’s feet to the fire until the final whistle.

After the first quarter deadlock, Bearden led 13-0 at the half, 34-25 after three periods, and hung on to post the win. 

“They’re having fun and gaining confidence,” head coach Brad Taylor said afterwards. “We never expected it to be 41-33. They had beaten Central 9-0 last week. Our linebackers were biting on the run.

“They were beating us with the slot receivers. It’s nice to be able to make the necessary corrections after a win. Our offensive line has played their rear ends off the last two weeks.”

The game turned Bearden’s way in the third quarter. Bearden had rushed to a 20-10 lead on Haney’s 16-yard touchdown run, but saw the Governors cut the margin to 20-17 mere moments later. It was time for the Bulldogs to respond and respond in a big way.

Haney returned the kickoff to the 30 and, on the first play from scrimmage, found the wide-open spaces for 70 yards and a touchdown that seemingly restored order.

“As soon as we hit the hole, we run where the offensive line gives us the lanes,” Haney said. ‘We have a lot of work to do to get better. We have to watch film and continue to make plays. We feed off each other. We have to listen to the coaches and do what we’re supposed to do.”

Haney, also playing safety, intercepted a pass at the Bearden 22, playing center field just like he’s been coached, swooping in at the last moment to make the pick. Then came another big play.

Trent Waters, who carried three times for 88 yards, found more running room and motored to the William Blount 19. Haney ran for 12 before Nicky Frizen hit left end on the option and scored from 12 yards out. That made the tally 34-17.

The Governors then rallied and score and made a two-point conversion to cut the margin to 34-25. A facemask penalty against William Blount kept the ensuing drive alive, and Waters scored on a 29-yard run, on which he looked to be stopped, but kept the feet moving and found the end zone.

Good thing, too, because William Blount kept the chains moving on the next drive, converting a third-and-24 “Utah Pass” that Bulldog defenders overran. The resulting touchdown brought the game to 41-33 at the 5:12 mark.

The Bulldogs, led by Haney’s hard running, killed all but 10.5 seconds on the clock and took home the hard-earned victory.

Dayton Reynolds led a smoothly operating offensive line that made enough space for Bearden runners to account for 312 yards.

“We did well,” he said. “We stayed on our blocks. We went over some things at halftime and regrouped. This is definitely not as well as we can play.”

The game was a decidedly defensive struggle in the first half, with Zack Messing and Haney scoring touchdowns, Messing on a 17-yard pass from Frizen and Haney on a 1-yard run with 58 seconds left in the half.

That score came after Haney had completed a 26-yard pass to Ethan Pollock that seemed to hang in the air forever before begin caught.

That gave the Governors just enough time to run the hurry-up offense and garner a field goal seconds before halftime.

The Bulldogs return to Bill Young Field for a Sept. 9 game against William Blount. Kickoff is a 7:30 p.m. 


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