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Bulldogs crush Cougars 38-8 for Class 3A bi-district title

 

By LINDA JACOBS
Contributing Writer

CROCKETT—The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs steamed full speed ahead in the UIL state football playoffs, de-railing the Leon Cougars 38-8 to win a Class 3A Division II Bi-district championship Thursday night at Monte Jack Driskell Stadium in Crockett.

Corrigan-Camden’s own Brandin Dirdin picks off a pass. (Photo by Linda Jacobs)Corrigan-Camden’s own Brandin Dirdin picks off a pass. (Photo by Linda Jacobs)The Bulldog defense set the tone early by stopping the Cougars on fourth and five on the opening drive, compliments of a 10 yard quarterback sack by senior Justin Robbins.
The offense quickly went to work and scored the first of three first half touchdowns, including their longest of the night, an 88 yard scoring drive with just 17 seconds left in the half to put the 'Dogs up 24-8.

Winning the opening coin toss and deferring to the second half gave the Bulldogs even more clout as they scored on the opening drive of the third quarter to add another nail in the Cougar coffin.

Malyk Johnson and Keegan Mitchell proved to be the decisive 1-2 punch as the duo combined for 264 yards and scored all five Corrigan touchdowns.

Leon was not without a solid running game either as their two big running backs, Corbin Watson and Peyton Archibald, combined for 190 yards. The majority of their yards, however, came on a 77-yard run by Watson midway in the first half for their lone score of the game.

LaDarius Hamilton led the aggressive defense, along with Keegan Mitchell, Christian Mitchell, KeAnthony Clark, Brandin Dirden, Chris Reyes, Dylan Parker, Calvin Burks, Jaylon Williams, Ty Love, Sebastian Pecina and Jarvoris Brooks.

Brooks and Clark registered a 12 yard sack against Cougar quarterback Blake Lowry who was relentlessly pressured time and time again by the Bulldog defense.

Turnovers were collected by Brandin Dirden and Keegan Mitchell who intercepted two Lowry passes and Zaquan White pounced on a Cougar fumble for the Bulldogs.

"We played well," bragged Corrigan head coach Seven Armstrong. "Those are some tough kids from Leon and they played hard. It was good to see us come out and get after them.
"I told the team the only negative we had was the two turnovers (fumbles) and we've got to get rid of them. We can't get where we want to go turning the ball over, especially when you do it down on your end of the field and we did that one time tonight.

"We can't allow turnovers to take place...it still gives us a reason to practice."

Coach Armstrong was particularly proud of the defensive effort by the team as well as his coaching staff for making halftime adjustments that practically shut the Cougars down in the second half.

"We made some plays," said Armstrong. "They hit some holes on us early and we missed a couple of tackles on the big long touchdown run, but we made some halftime adjustments that were key for us.

"My defensive coaches did a good job at halftime adjusting and I don't know that they had much yardage at all in the second half. We made a great adjustment at halftime."
The adjustments and the hard hitting Bulldog defense made it extremely tough on the Cougars who were held to just 92 yards and four first downs in the second half.
Area championship

The Bulldogs, 10-1 for the season, will face Rogers in the Class 3A Division II Area championship Friday night at Tiger Stadium on the campus of A&M Consolidated in College Station. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

The Eagles (9-2) are the District 10-3A champions, having posted a 5-0 record against Marlin, Clifton, Dublin, Bruceville-Eddy and Jarrell.

The Eagles started the season by losing their first two games to Franklin (37-7) and Little River Academy (17-0). Since then, they have won nine straight, including a 35-13 win over Blooming Grove in their Bi-district matchup.

"We're going to have our hands full, it's only going to get harder from here on out," said Armstrong.

Here's a look at how the Rogers Eagles have fared this year.
Franklin 37, Rogers 7
Little River Academy 17, Rogers 0
Rogers 21, Troy 20
Rogers 13, Hyde Park 7
Rogers 28, Ingleside 26
Rogers 29, Marlin 3
Rogers 37, Clifton 6
Rogers 31, Dublin 14
Rogers 32, Bruceville Eddy 0
Rogers 47, Jarrell, 13
Class 3A Bi-district
Rogers 35, Blooming Grove 13

The game
Leon received the opening kickoff and started their first possession from their own 33 yard line following a 17 yard kickoff return by Peyton Archibald.

Archibald and Corbin Watson had the Cougars off and running with carries of 11 and 15 yards for a pair of first downs and yardage to the Corrigan 41 yard line.

The defense held on the next three plays and the Cougars elected to go for it on fourth and five from the Corrigan 36 yard line. Justin Robbins came in from the left side and chased Cougar quarterback Blake Lowry (6-of-13, 62 yards) down for a 10-yard sack for the first defensive highlight of the game.

The Bulldog offense took their cue from the defense and were quick to produce the game's first touchdown on a 5-play, 54 yard drive that took just 2:04 off the clock. Keegan Mitchell (22 carries, 124 yards, 2 TDs) had carries of 10, three and nine yards on the drive and Sammy Martinez (11 carries, 59 yards) had a two yard run.

Malyk Johnson blew past Cougar defenders to score on a 30 yard run with 6:40 on the clock. Johnson, who finished as the game's leading rusher with 140 yards and three touchdowns, also scored the 2-point run to give the 'Dogs an 8-0 lead.

The Cougars returned the ensuing kickoff 13 yards out to the 23 yard line and would need just one play to knot the score. Corbin Watson escaped through the Corrigan defense on a 77 yard run and Lowry tossed a 2-point pass to Rhett Read to tie the game 8-8 with 6:21 on the clock.
The Bulldog offense went right back to work on the next series to regain the lead. Keegan Mitchell returned the kickoff 22 yards to the Corrigan 49. The Bulldogs picked up a pair of first downs on runs by LaKendrick Moore and Mitchell to set up a 28 yard scamper down the left sideline by Malyk Johnson.

Mitchell ran the 2-point conversion in to give the 'Dogs a 16-8 lead with 2:54 left in the first quarter.

Leon had an impressive march on the following series. They moved the chains for four first downs and advanced the ball from their own 28 to the Corrigan 12 before being halted by the Bulldog defense on fourth and one. Dylan Parker came up with the stop for Corrigan with 7:46 left in the half.

The Bulldogs would surpass the Leon drive by taking the ball 88 yards in 17 plays and score with 17 seconds left in the half to extend their lead to 24-8.

Enroute, the 'Dogs overcame two penalties on the play and converted three third downs, including a huge third and 21 from the Cougar 28 yard line. QB LaKendrick Moore hit his lone pass of the game to Keegan Mitchell who leaped high above a much taller defender to secure the catch at the Cougar four yard line. Two plays later Mitchell scored from two yards out and Johnson tacked on the 2-point run to give the 'Dogs the momentum heading into halftime.
"It took the air out of (Leon), especially when we got off track with the penalties and we were able to overcome it and score right there before the half," commented Coach Armstrong.
"Keegan made a heck of a catch right down the middle of the field. He's a playmaker, that's his time to make a play and he made it. He went up there and got the football. It just sparked us and we got it in the end zone.

"Being able to overcome penalties in situations like that is huge for us. Our offense isn't really built around overcoming big penalties."

Second half
By deferring in the first half, the Bulldogs were able to take the second half kickoff and score a touchdown to increase their lead to 30-8 and take any life away from the Cougars.

"That's why you do it," said Armstrong. "If you can be the last one to score in the first half and then score on the first drive of the second half it deflates a team. That's the whole theory behind deferring and that's why I like to do it."

Malyk Johnson returned the second half kickoff 23 yards to set the 'Dogs up at their own 43. Johnson would cap the drive eight plays later with a 28 yard touchdown run with 8:43 on the clock. The 2-point run came up short, but the 'Dogs were in high cotton with a 30-8 lead.
The defense continued to halt the Cougars in the third quarter. They forced one punt and both Brandin Dirden and Keegan Mitchell intercepted a pass.

The Bulldogs committed two turnovers themselves, fumbling the pigskin at their own 38 and again at the Cougar 31 yard line.

A fumble recovery by Zaquan White with 10:55 left in the fourth quarter would set up the Bulldogs final touchdown. The drive was 76 yards and 11 plays. All four backs got in on the action. Moore had one carry, Martinez carried twice and Johnson had four carries. Mitchell also had four carries and scored the touchdown from four yards out with 5:26 left in the game.
Moore connected a 2-point pass to Dylan Parker to extend the lead to 38-8.

Leon advanced their final drive of the game from their own 22 to the Corrigan 48 before failing to convert on fourth and long.

The Bulldogs took over with 1:20 left in the game, ran one play and then took a knee to end the game.

Playoff games
In other District 11-3A playoff action, champion Newton defeated New Waverly 45-6; third place Crockett advanced with a 34-27 win over Trinity and Franklin ousted fourth place Garrison, 57-13.

Second round playoff games will feature Newton vs. Dublin at Buffalo; Corrigan vs. Rogers at A&M Consolidated in College Station; Crockett vs. Clifton at Groesbeck and Franklin vs. Maypearl at Waco I.S.D.

Bulldogs playoff bound

Keegan Mitchell ran for 250 yards and scored five touchdowns plus caught a 48-yard pass to help lead the Bulldogs to a convincing 58-28 win over Garrison. Corrigan (9-1) will face Leon (8-2) in first round playoff action Thursday night in Crockett. (Photo by Linda Jacobs)Keegan Mitchell ran for 250 yards and scored five touchdowns plus caught a 48-yard pass to help lead the Bulldogs to a convincing 58-28 win over Garrison. Corrigan (9-1) will face Leon (8-2) in first round playoff action Thursday night in Crockett. (Photo by Linda Jacobs)

By LINDA JACOBS
Contributing Writer

CORRIGAN—The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs completed the regular season with a convincing 58-28 win over the Garrison Bulldogs to finish 9-1 overall and 4-1 in the District 11-3A standings.

The Bulldogs will begin season two tonight when they travel to Crockett to face the Leon Cougars in the Bi-district round of the Class 3A Division II playoffs.

Corrigan is the home team and will be seated on the east side of Monte Jack Driskell Stadium. Ticket prices are $3 for students and $5 for adults.

The Cougars, third in District 12, will bring a hefty 8-2 record into the first round of the state playoffs. They finished league play with an equally impressive 5-1 mark.

Leon upset previously undefeated Franklin 21-20 in their season finale to end the year in a 3-way tie along with Franklin and Trinity. Franklin (8-1) will secure the top seed and face Garrison in the first round. Trinity (7-3) finished second and will play Crockett. New Waverly (4-6, 3-3) takes the final playoff spot and will meet Newton in their bi-district matchup.
The Cougars have improved tremendously from last year's 5-5, 0-4 finish. They returned seven offensive starters and eight on defense

Top players to watch on defense include, defensive back Riley Noey and linebackers Layne Pfannenstiel, Hunter Vestal and Morgan Vestal.

Offensive standouts will be running back Peyton Archibald and wide receiver Bradley Berryhill.
It's been quite a while since the Bulldogs and Cougars last battled on the gridiron. They were in the same district during the 2002 and 2003 seasons. Corrigan posted a 20-17 win in 2002 and dropped a 27-21 decision to the Cougars in 2003.

Bulldog head coach Seven Armstrong wasn't quite sure who the Bulldogs would be facing this week after hearing that Leon defeated Franklin to throw District 12 into a 3-way tie.

The Bulldogs main goal was to finish strong Friday night and then start preparing for whoever it would it be. "We just got to line up and play, that's it," stated Coach Armstrong. "We're going to watch film all weekend and put a game plan together. We have to get the game plan taught and then we've got to execute the game plan on Thursday, Friday or whatever day it is."

Friday's game plan against Garrison was air tight as the team rolled for more than 500 yards on offense plus turned in a solid defensive effort."

We played well tonight," said Armstrong. "We made some mistakes and that's going to happen, but as long as we're getting better, I feel pretty good about this football team. We just have to make sure that we're making a push to get better.

"Defensively, we were much more aggressive tonight and that's what we've been looking for. That's what we've been missing, that aggressive style of defense. Hopefully we can build on that and keep getting better from here."

Leading the defense was Cody McDonald, Christian Mitchell, Jarvoris Brooks, LaDarius Hamilton, Brandin Dirden, Calvin Burks, Dylan Parker, Keegan Mitchell, Justin Robbins, Jyvon Burch, Zaquan White, KeAnthony Clark and Chris Reyes

Calvin Burks pressured the Garrison quarterback a couple of times and had one sack on the night. Sebastian Pecina, Christian Mitchell and Burks also tackled Garrison ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage for lost yardage.

McDonald, Brooks and Robbins combined to stop the Bulldogs on a fourth and six fake field goal attempt, holding the play to just three yards.

McDonald also recovered one fumble for the Bulldogs and Brandin Dirden intercepted a Garrison pass.

Offensively, senior Keegan Mitchell had a banner night for the Bulldogs. Mitchell exploded for 250 yards on 20 carries and scored five touchdowns on runs of two, seven, 43, 54 and 55 yards. Mitchell also caught a 48-yard touchdown strike from quarterback LaKendrick Moore.
Teammate Malyk Johnson added 188 yards on just 12 carries and scored on a 38 yard run for the Bulldogs. Overall, the offense accumulated 534 yards on 53 plays and picked up 22 first downs.

Garrison had a balanced attack of 223 yards rushing on 35 carries plus connected 13-of-27 passes for 156 yards. They moved the first down markers 11 times rushing, six passing and one via penalty.

Bulldogs back on winning track; sink Pirates

By LINDA JACOBS
Contributing Writer

DEWEYVILLE—The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs rushed for over 400 yards and tossed the ball for 67 to get back on the winning track Friday night with a 46-12 victory over the Deweyville Pirates in District 11-3A football action.

The Bulldogs, 8-1 for the season and 3-1 in district, accomplished one main objective in their trip to Deweyville (2-7, 1-3) and that was erasing the bitterness from last week's 44-26 loss to Newton, their first defeat of the season.

"Our whole deal was, let's get that bad taste out of our mouth from last week," commented Bulldog head coach Seven Armstrong.

The Bulldogs were slow to start, allowing the Pirates to score on an 11-play, 75 yard drive to open the game, followed by a 10-play, 61 yard drive that gave the Pirates their second lead of the game (12-8) with 1:10 left in the opening quarter.

The Pirates accumulated 172 yards and picked up 11 first downs in the first half, but were seriously limited in the second half when the Bulldog defense tightened their grip.
"It took us a while to spit that taste out, but we settled in and started playing a lot better," said Armstrong. "They took the first two drives and just shoved it right up us. We weren't getting to the football and we were playing too high."

The Bulldog defense swallowed up the Pirate offense in the second half and held them to a mere 47 yards and three first downs.

The defense was spearheaded by Jarvoris Brooks who recorded a 13 yard sack on Pirate quarterback Tristin Gordon and Christian Mitchell who recovered a Pirate fumble.

Mitchell, Brooks and teammates Dylan Parker, Calvin Burks and Jaylon Williams also caught the Pirates behind the line of scrimmage for lost yardage on several plays.

Mitchell in just his third game at the varsity level has made a mark on the defensive side of the ball. "Since Christian's come up, he's been a pleasant surprise at linebacker," said Coach Armstrong. "He's making tackles and doing a great job defensively.

"We're getting better defensively, but we've got to keep working and continue to tackle better. Even on those first (two) drives we were there. We made some hits, but we just didn't get them wrapped up and didn't finish the tackle.
"We've got to continue to be more aggressive and tackle with a little bit more tenacity, that's how we've got to play this game."

Other top tacklers on defense were, LaDarius Hamilton, Keegan Mitchell, LaKendrick Moore, Brandin Dirden, Justin Robbins, Sebastian Pecina and Chris Reyes.

The Bulldog offense was back to their usual high productivity, racking up 406 yards on 41 carries plus an additional 67 yards passing.

Corrigan easily matched the Pirate's first two scores and then proceeded to march up and down the field and score on four of their next five possessions to tally the lopsided victory.
Keegan Mitchell went over the 1,500 yard rushing mark by adding 186 yards on just 13 carries against the Pirates. Mitchell, who has rushed for 1,578 yards on 151 carries (10.4 avg.) scored twice on runs of nine and four yards.

Malyk Johnson carried just five times and gained 108 yards for an average of 21.6 yards per carry against the Pirates. Johnson would score on four of his five totes, including twice on runs of 49 yards.

Fullback Sammy Martinez blazed a trail through the middle of the Pirate defense to finish with 55 yards on seven carries. Jaylon Williams tallied 23 yards on six carries and Jyvon Burch finished with seven yards on three carries for the Bulldogs.

Junior QB LaKendrick Moore rushed for 27 yards and completed 2-of-2 passes for 67 yards.
Moore completed a 30 yard toss to Keegan Mitchell and a 37-yard pass to freshman Ty Love, who made a leaping catch over a Pirate defender near the Deweyville end zone for his first reception of the year.

Love is another freshman making an impact for the Bulldogs this season. "We brought the freshman up and figured we'd try to sling him one just to see if he could make a play on the ball and he made a great catch," bragged Armstrong. This was Love's second game at the varsity level.

Opening drive
Deweyville took the opening drive 75 yards in 11 plays for the game's first score. They motored down the field behind runs of 10, 16 and 22 yards and capped the drive with a three yard run by Brenden Waldrep at the 8:06 mark for an early 6-0 lead.

Keegan Mitchell sparked the Bulldogs first touchdown, a 58-yard scoring drive in five plays. Mitchell carried four times on the drive for 55 yards, including one nifty gainer of 39 yards. Malyk Johnson got the touchdown from three yards out with 5:58 left in the opening quarter plus scored the 2-point run to give the 'Dogs an 8-6 lead.

The Pirates would take their second possession of the game and march 61 yards in 10 plays against the Bulldog defense. Brenden Waldrep, who finished with 56 yards on 21 carries, capped the drive with his second touchdown, scoring on a four yard run with 1:10 left in the first to give the Pirates a 12-8 lead.

The Bulldogs would quickly answer the Pirates with a 2-play, 62 yard drive to take the lead for good. LaKendrick Moore darted for 13 yards and Johnson scored on a 49 yard run with :48 seconds left in the first. Mitchell scored the 2-point run to give the 'Dogs a 16-12 lead.

The Bulldog defense made their first stand of the game and forced the Pirates to punt on the ensuing series. Robert Brinson nailed a 59 yard punt that rolled down to the Corrigan five yard line with 11:38 left in the second quarter.

The great punt by Brinson had the Bulldogs staring at a long field, but they would need just six plays to reach the Pirate end zone.

Moore started the drive with a 14-yard keeper. Mitchell had bookend runs of 13 and 39 yards and in between Sammy Martinez scampered for 21 yards. Malyk Johnson scored on a five yard run with 9:29 on the clock plus ran for the 2-point conversion to double the Bulldog lead to 24-12.

Jarvoris Brooks sacked quarterback Tristin Gordon for a 13 yard loss to help force the Pirates to punt for a second time. Following a much shorter 28 yard punt by Brinson the Bulldogs took possession at the Deweyville 45 yard line.

A 15-yard chop block penalty against the 'Dogs had this drive looking bleak and at one point they were facing third and 20.

QB Moore and Keegan Mitchell had the answer, however, and combined on a 30-yard pass play to the Pirate 14 yard line. Mitchell made a nice twisting grab on a pass thrown a little behind him. Three plays later Mitchell scored on a 9-yard run with 2:55 left in the half.
Johnson added the 2-point run to extend the Bulldog lead to 32-12.

Second half
The Bulldogs opened the second half with a 4-play, 60-yard touchdown drive to stretch their lead to 40-12 with 10:22 on the clock. Mitchell took the first handoff from Moore and galloped 45 yards to the Deweyville 15. Three plays later Mitchell scored from four yards out and Martinez plowed across for the 2-point conversion.

Deweyville's first drive of the second half ended when Christian Mitchell pounced on a fumble at the Pirates 38 yard line. Moore quickly got the 'Dogs down to the one yard line with a 37 yard pass play to Ty Love. Unfortunately, the 'Dogs fumbled on the next play and the Pirates took over at their own six yard line.

Deweyville managed one first down on the drive, but had to punt on fourth and nine from their own 28 yard line. Following a Brinson punt Corrigan took possession at the Pirate 49 with 4:48 left in the third quarter.

Malyk Johnson got the first call from Moore and rambled in for the touchdown with 4:37 on the clock to boost the Bulldogs to a 46-12 lead.

The officials ran the clock in the final frame and both teams had just one possession in the fourth quarter. The Pirates moved the ball from their own 37 to the Corrigan 40 before failing to convert on fourth and long.

The Bulldogs picked up four first downs and advanced the ball from their own 40 down to the Pirate nine yard line before taking a knee twice as the game clock expired.
Garrison Bulldogs

Corrigan can wrap up second place in District 11-3A with a win at home Friday over the Garrison Bulldogs.

Garrison (4-5, 2-2) will be looking to make the playoffs this year as four teams will be headed to the post season. "Garrison is dangerous," commented Coach Armstrong. "They're a decent football team and we can't take them for granted.

"We've got to do what we're supposed to do. We need a good week of practice and just start building again.

"I know they're going to throw the football down the field quite a bit. We've got to be prepared to cover the deep ball and we've had issues with that."

Newton halts Corrigan-Camden 44-26

Keegan Mitchell looks for running room during District 11-3A action against Newton last Friday night. Mitchell was held to 70 yards on 20 carries in a 44-26 loss to the Eagles (5-3, 3-0). )Photo by Linda Jacobs)Keegan Mitchell looks for running room during District 11-3A action against Newton last Friday night. Mitchell was held to 70 yards on 20 carries in a 44-26 loss to the Eagles (5-3, 3-0). )Photo by Linda Jacobs)

By LINDA JACOBS
Contributing Writer

CORRIGAN—The Newton Eagles capitalized on a pair of turnovers, returned a punt for a touchdown, broke on a couple of long runs and defensively, contained Corrigan's breakaway speed to post a 44-26 win over the Bulldogs in District 11-3A football action Friday night.
An electric-charged start by Corrigan with an onside kick recovery on the opening kickoff was quickly contained when the Eagle defense stifled three running plays, forcing the Bulldogs to punt on fourth and 12. The Eagles reciprocated by returning the Bulldog punt 88 yards for the game's first score.

More bad luck followed the Bulldogs into the second half. Down just 23-14 at the break, the Bulldogs fumbled on their first three possessions of the third quarter. Newton made the Bulldogs pay dearly on the last two miscues, scoring twice in a matter of 25 seconds to stretch their lead to 37-14 midway in the third frame.

"Anything bad that could go wrong, did go wrong," commented Corrigan head coach Seven Armstrong.

"That's a good football team and to beat a good football team you've got to play well.

"You've got to play well and you've got to practice well and we didn't practice well this week. It all goes together.

"Hopefully we can learn from this, that's the bottom line. I told them earlier this week, one of two things is going to happen tonight and this is how we have to approach this game. We beat Newton, we're as good as we think we are. We don't beat Newton, then we're going to learn what we've got to get better at."

Fumbles and giving up big plays doomed the previously undefeated Bulldogs (7-1, 2-1) as Newton (5-3, 3-0) now takes the lead in claiming the District 11-3A championship.

"They did a good job executing and they got the football away from us tonight," said Armstrong. "Obviously, you're going to have one every once in awhile, but we put it on the ground a couple of times when it shouldn't of been on the ground. Our goal is to always be fumble free.

"We just can't make those mistakes against a good football team. That sums this game up real easy.

"That's a good football team. This is a good football team, we have a good football team, but we're not as good when we make those mistakes."

Despite the loss, the Bulldog head coach saw some good things on both sides of the ball.

"There were some bright spots defensively," said Armstrong. "We made some stops when we had to make stops." Twice late in the first half the Bulldog defense stopped the Eagles on back-to-back fourth down plays to halt potential scoring drives.

"Offensively, we were doing what we game planned to do," added Armstrong. "We wanted to have those 12 to 15 play drives. We wanted to go get five yards and go get six yards and we were doing that at times, and then we would slip up."

Corrigan would engineer several long scoring drives, including a 16 play, 96 yard drive in the fourth quarter. Two more drives were 11 and 17 play drives of 61 and 68 yards, respectively.

If the Bulldogs take this loss and turn it into something positive, look for the Bulldogs to make another long post season run. Both Corrigan and Newton are capable of long playoff runs and could very well meet again in the fourth round of the state playoffs.

"If we can come together from this loss and we can learn from this loss, this loss could actually be the best thing in the world for us," said Armstrong.

"If we'll learn from this loss and if we do what we need to do, we could see this football team again."

Defense
Newton's defense was by far the best the Bulldogs have come up against this year. It became evident right after the Bulldogs recovered the onside kick at the Newton 29 yard line to start the game. The Eagle defense stifled Corrigan's first three running plays for a minus two yards to force a Dylan Parker punt.

That's when Roney Elam returned the Bulldog punt 88 yards for an Eagle touchdown with 9:44 left in the opening frame. Logan Westbrook split the uprights to put the Eagles on the board, 7-0.

"We didn't play well the first drive and obviously it cost us a touchdown real quick," said Armstrong. "After catching a break on the onside kick to open the game, we gave it right back to them. It turned a break for us into a break for them and those are hard to overcome."

Corrigan battled right back against the highly touted Eagles and scored a touchdown of their own. Keegan Mitchell returned the kickoff 11 yards to the 29 to start the drive. On the very first play QB LaKendrick Moore darted through the middle of the line on a 51 yard run to the Newton 20 yard line.

Moore finished as the game's leading rusher with 117 yards on 15 carries and scored twice for the Bulldogs. The junior quarterback also completed 4-of-6 passes for 48 yards.

After Moore's long run, the next three plays netted nine yards and had the 'Dogs facing fourth and one from the 11. Moore handed the ball off to Sammy Martinez who reached the three yard line for a Bulldog first down. Martinez finished the game with 61 yards on 17 totes. Moore scored from the one on the next play and Jyvon Burch ran the 2-point conversion in to give the 'Dogs their one and only lead of the game, 8-7 with 6:39 left in the first frame.

Newton returned the ensuing kickoff 18 yards out to midfield for their next scoring drive.

Three plays in, on second and 12, Calum Foster broke on a 31 yard run up the middle and Jace Thomas scored the 2-point run to give the Eagles a 15-8 lead with 5:45 left in the first frame.

Foster would lead the Newton ground game with 83 yards on 13 carries. Jace Thomas rushed for 75 yards on 12 carries and QB Elam added 71 yards on six totes.

On the next series of downs Corrigan took a chance and went for it on fourth and two from their own 38 but failed to gain any ground against the Eagle defense. Newton took over and scored four plays later on a 27-yard keeper by QB Elam.

Calum Foster added the 2-point run to give the Eagles a 23-8 advantage.

Corrigan battled back with an 11-play, 61-yard scoring drive at the 8:27 mark of the second quarter.

Three plays into the drive, QB LaKendrick Moore tossed a 19 yard pass to Jyvon Burch to move the ball to the Newton 38 yard line.

Martinez, Malyk Johnson and Keegan Mitchell all had carries on the drive. It was Mitchell who hit paydirt on a 10 yard run which made it a 23-14 ballgame.

The Bulldog defense would halt the Eagle offense on their next two series as they failed to convert on fourth and seven from the Corrigan 17 and again on fourth and two from the Bulldog 25 yard line.

Second half
Down by just nine and getting the ball to start the second half should have been a good start for the Bulldogs. They had managed to produce more yardage against Newton in the first half (152 to 129) and edged the Eagles 7 to 6 in first downs.

Malyk Johnson got the Bulldogs rolling in the right direction with a 31 yard kickoff return, but the opportunistic Eagles stripped Keegan Mitchell of the ball just three plays into the drive for what would be the first of three fumbles on consecutive drives.

The Corrigan defense halted the Eagles after the first miscue, but the next two possessions didn't end well for the Bulldogs. Two more fumbles resulted in back-to-back Eagle touchdowns in a very short span of time.

Newton took possession of the first turnover at the 5:53 mark and scored one play later when QB Elam broke free on a 40 yard run to score at the 5:44 mark. Foster added the 2-point run to extend Newton's lead to 31-14.

Corrigan would fumble inside their own territory on the first play of the next series. The ball was scooped up by Foster who returned it 29 yards for an Eagle touchdown with 5:28 left in the third to extend their lead to 37-14.

Newton kicked the ball deep on the ensuing kickoff and Corrigan was pinned down at their own four yard line.

This began a 16-play, 94 yard touchdown drive by the Bulldogs. Moore got it going with a tough 15 yard run up the middle and Mitchell followed with an 18 yard run to the 37. Three plays later Martinez escaped on an 11 yard run to reach the Eagle 46 yard line.

Later, on fourth and six, Mitchell picked up the first down to extend the drive with a six yard run to the Eagle 25. Martinez had two more carries on the drive, including an eight yard run down to the one yard line. Moore scored on the next play to make it a 37-20 ballgame with 9:56 left in the fourth.

Newton scored on a 21 yard run by Jace Thomas with 9:06 left and Westbrook split the uprights for a 44-20 margin.

Corrigan started the next series at their own 32 with 8:58 left in the ballgame. During the drive Moore connected a pair of passes to Levi Hurley (seven yards) and Keegan Mitchell (14 yards). Mitchell would finish the 17-play drive by scoring on a one yard run with 3:01 left in the game for the final tally, 44-26.