Saturday, February 24, 2018

Tavian Jefferson carries the ball downfield after catching a pass from quarterback Codi Small. The Bulldogs took a 20-point lead over the Dawson County Red Devils going into halftime.Codi Small, laterals the ball to Steffan Walks Over Ice in the second quarter at last Fridays homecoming game. The Bulldogs beat the Red Devils 34-14.

Bulldogs add first conference win on homecoming night

Hardin defeats Dawson County High 34-14

Most all the pieces are back in place for the Bulldogs. The return of junior quarterback Codi Small opens up the offense and bolsters the defensive secondary. The only piece remaining is junior wide out and linebacker Justin Zier. He has been cleared for play and will be ready for Friday’s home game with the Laurel Locomotives.

Small didn’t waste any time in his first game back, leading the Bulldogs on a 52-yard scoring drive capped by a 29-yard scoring pass to Dustin Proctor, giving the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead at the 9:24 mark of the first quarter. He finished the night 9 for 17, compiling 170 yards and four touchdowns.

Head Coach Mike Flamm was pleased with the response of the Bulldogs’ offense saying, “We ran more than we passed, but we just got some big plays passing. The line gave Codi some time; he was able to see through some things. The first couple of touchdowns, he got to his second progression, which was nice to see.”

The Bulldog defense shut down the Red Devil offense, limiting them to 42 total yards in the first half.

However, second half started out quite differently, according to Flamm.

“Second half, I was a bit disappointed,” he said. “We came out a little flat – homecoming is that way – and everyone is wondering what’s going on, then they come in and you have to change gears and get ready to go out and play some football.

“They punched us pretty good on the first drive in the third quarter and sometimes that can lead to panic. I felt like there was some on the sideline. We just needed to settle down and do our job again.”

Hardin’s special teams contributed to both of the Red Devils’ touchdowns with a short, line drive kickoff to start the second half and a short punt on the Bulldogs’ first possession of the fourth quarter.

Hardin came through though during probably the most critical time of the game. Dawson County had just run over the Bulldogs for 8 points on their first possession to start the second half. The Bulldog offense came out flat and had to punt after a quick three and out. The special teams covered the punt well and were able to recover a fumble by the Red Devil returner, giving Hardin a first and 10 on their own 28. Four plays later, Small connected with Steffan Walks Over Ice on a 6-yard touchdown pass giving the Bulldogs a 28-8 lead but, more importantly, helping them to shake off the homecoming fog.

“That was huge,” said Flamm. “We needed that, because we weren’t doing anything defensively or offensively. Special teams came through on that one for us.”

Unable to successfully run the ball, Dawson County made some adjustments for the second half, trying to attack the Bulldog secondary. They threw 18 passes completing only 5 for 53 yards. Hardin responded with numerous pass knockdowns and two interceptions, with Trevor Edwards getting the second one with 15 seconds left to play, ending the Red Devils’ last drive and securing the Bulldog win.

Flamm had good things to say about his defense: “We were able to answer everything they did in the second half. I think, defensively, we’ve come a long ways. It’s not where I want it to be, but it’s a heck of a lot better than what is was at the beginning of the year. We’ve had a lot of kids playing in a lot of different spots and it’s starting to gel.”

The Bulldogs (1-2) have their final home game this Friday, hosting the Laurel Locomotives (2-1). With a win, the Bulldogs may qualify for the Class A state playoffs.

Flamm’s evaluation of the Locomotives is they are dangerous.

“I’m really impressed with their beating of Miles City in Miles City,” he said. “They lost their starting quarterback to a broken leg last week and he was a real stud. So to go into Miles City and beat Miles City, they obviously have some more players they are able to use. It will be a heck of a challenge for us.

“It’s a tall order, but I’m excited about it. I’m glad it’s here. We have something to play for with the playoffs in front of us and I think we’re getting better each week.”

Hardin 34, Glendive 14

Hardin:              13   7    7    7 - 34

Glendive:            0    0    8    6 - 14