Bulldogs’ football playoff run ends
Posted by : November 21, 2013| On :
The Monitor Staff
VAN – The Eustace Bulldogs entered Saturday’s bi-district playoff game against District 8-2A champion Daingerfield Tigers at Mal Fowler Field in Van with game plan: dominate time of possession and grind out the win.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, four turnovers, two of which directly led to a 13-0 halftime deficit, proved too much to overcome in the 34-7 loss.
Eustace opened the game on offense, riding the legs of Jesus Barcenas on six of their first seven plays to move the ball from their own 27-yard line to the Daingerfield 42.
Faced with a fourth down and one, the Tiger defense came up big, stuffing Barcenas for no gain to take possession via a turnover on downs.
The Daingerfield drive ended with heavy pressure by Eustace forcing the Tigers to punt and return the ball to the Bulldogs.
The Eustace offense failed to gain any traction on its second possession, moving the ball just 7 yards on three plays. Misfortune hit the Bulldogs on fourth down, as the Eustace punt attempt netted only 7 yards thanks to gusty winds that wreaked havoc all day long.
Despite the excellent field position, the Daingerfield offense struggled to find its rhythm. Faced with a fourth and 8 at the Eustace 32-yard line, Daingerfield kept its offense on the field.
The Bulldog defense held, forcing a turnover on downs.
After gaining only six yards on the next three plays, Eustace gambled, and converted, on a fourth down fake punt attempt that netted a first down.
The Bulldogs would drive to midfield where disaster would strike just minutes into the second quarter.
Eustace coughed up their first of four turnovers of the day, this one on a fumble, to give Daingerfield possession of the football at the Bulldog 49-yard line.
The Tigers wasted little time in taking advantage, picking up four yards on a Cordarius Anderson run, and then hitting it big with a 45-yard touchdown run by senior Calvin Bryant. Keynon Whetstone added the PAT, giving Daingerfield a 7-0 lead with 9:02 to play in the half.
After the kickoff, Eustace proceeded to put together a 15-play drive that chewed nearly 8:30 minutes off the clock. The drive, which started at the Eustace 37-yard line, included a critical fourth down conversion. With time winding down, and the Bulldogs on the cusp of tying the score, Daingerfield’s defense rose to the occasion.
Pressure by the defensive front of the Tigers caused Bulldog quarterback Ryan Brown to roll to his right. Nearing the sideline, Brown unleashed a throw that was intercepted by linebacker Spencer Alexander on the 7-yard line.
Alexander proceeded to weave his way down the Eustace sideline, going 93-yards for a Daingerfield touchdown. The ensuing PAT attempt was blocked by Eustace, giving the Tigers a 13-0 lead with 20 seconds in the half.
The Tigers took possession of the football first in the second half, striking for another touchdown less than three minutes into the third quarter.
Anderson scored on a one-yard dive to extend the Tiger advantage to 19-0. Whetstone would add the PAT, making the score 20-0 in favor of Daingerfield with 9:56 to play in the third.
The Eustace Bulldogs put together another long drive on their first possession of the second half, driving 67-yards in 14 plays for their only points of the game.
Barcenas, who finished the game with 39 carries for 157 yards, carried the ball nine times on the drive, eventually scoring on a three-yard run. Brown kicked through the PAT, cutting the Daingerfield lead to 20-7.
The Bulldogs continued to build on their momentum moments later, with Abed Abuhatab intercepting a Tigers pass attempt to give Eustace possession at the 46-yard line.
Eustace proceeded to string together another drive, pushing the ball down to the Daingerfield 14-yard line.
Pushed on their heels, the Tiger defense came up big once again, pushing it to a fourth down and holding out to force a turnover on downs.
The Tigers scored again, this time on a three yard run by Keaton Key. Another PAT by Whetstone extended their lead to , to 27-7.
The Daingerfield defense sealed the game on the next Eustace possession, stymieing any chance of a comeback by forcing a turnover on downs in just four plays.
The Tigers would score one play later with a 16-yard keeper to secure the 34-7 win.
For the game, the Daingerfield defense held Eustace to 251 yards on 65 plays.
The Tigers, now 8-3 for the season, advance to take on Farmersville in the Area round of the playoffs. The Farmers advanced to the second round by virtue of a 35-27 win over Pilot Point.