Bulldogs fall short in comeback, suffer loss to Rams 46-20
Thu, 09/29/2016 - 11:05am admin
By Wes Eben, Big Horn County News
The Bulldogs took a quarter and half to get their offense untracked and plug the holes in their defense during the home game with Billings Central Friday night.
The Rams had a 33-0 lead with seven minutes left to play in the second quarter when the Bulldog defense stepped up and forced the Rams to turn the ball over on downs.
The offense took the momentum and turned the next possession into a 62-yard scoring drive started by junior quarterback Cody Small, breaking off a 32-yard quarterback keeper. He then followed with a 22-yard completion to junior wide receiver Tavian Jefferson, setting up a first and 10 on the Rams’ 18-yard line. Small ran another keeper off left tackle, this time for the last 18 yards and a Bulldog score.
On the following kickoff, the special teams created a turnover with a solid hit on the Rams’ runner and the Bulldogs recovered the fumble on Central’s 32-yard line.
Hardin took immediate advantage of the turnover with Small showing his passing touch, placing the ball just out of the reach of the Rams cornerback who was trying to jump the route. Junior wide receiver Charles Storey kept his eyes on the ball, caught it and broke free to complete a 32-yard pass for the Bulldogs’ second score of the quarter.
The score reduced the Rams’ lead to 19 points at 33-14 with 6 minutes and 43 seconds left to play in the first half.
Hardin’s defense once again stepped up with Jefferson, now playing cornerback, intercepting a pass and giving the Bulldogs a first and 10 on their own 25-yard line. Two plays later, Small found Storey open across the middle, but Storey couldn’t hold on.
Bulldogs had to punt and the Rams got their second punt block of the game, taking possession of the ball at the Bulldogs’ 18-yard line. One play later, the Rams scored on a reverse and took a 40-to-14 lead. They would score one more time just before the end of the half, taking a 46-to-14 lead into the locker room.
Third quarter, neither offense could get untracked as the defenses dominated. Bulldog defense was led by Gidion Herbel with 12 tackles – he was followed by Bryce Roan with eight, one sack and one tackle for loss. Darnell Left Hand had an outstanding game, spending most of the night in the Rams’ backfield, getting three sacks and four tackles for loss, and recovering one fumble. The defense created three turnovers and stopped the Rams’ offense for the entire second half, but Hardin’s offense was not able to take advantage of the turnovers stopping several good drives with penalties.
“Penalties seem to come back and get us, and put us in long situations,” stated Head Coach Mike Flamm. “We’re not built for long situations.”
For the Bulldogs, Small was ejected from the game at the end of the first half, because the referee said he threw a punch at one of the Rams right after he was gang tackled. He will also be out for the Miles City game. Although it was a significant loss for the Bulldogs, freshman quarterback Famous Left Hand came in and played well, leading the team to their third score about midway through the final quarter.
“I thought Famous came in and did nice job. I was real happy with what he did considering last week. I don’t think he was real happy with his performance against Livingston,” Coach Flamm said. “He redeemed himself. I thought he threw some good balls and got some good reads. We will be back to him against Miles City.”
Overall, Coach Flamm was pleased with the Bulldogs’ defensive performance.
“Once the boys took care of their area, I thought they played real good defense, but it took three touchdowns and a safety to get to that point,” he said. “Defensively, I think we’re coming around. The kids are starting to play better. Both the Roan boys are doing a lot better on defense figuring some things out.”
Hardin travels to Miles City next week and will face a Cowboy team that just got embarrassed by a 41- 0 loss to Sidney. Coach Flamm said, “Miles City’s got some weapons kids who are game breakers. They will be amped up after their loss to Sidney.”