Bulldogs run over Lions 70-0

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Earle celebrated their 2008 Homecoming with a 70-0 demolition of Manila Friday night in 3A-3 conference football action at Bulldog Field in Earle.

Manila senior Frankie Cowgill (23) carries the ball for the Lions in senior boys football action Friday night at Earle.

Eight different Bulldogs scored touchdowns as Earle used a balanced rushing attack, rolling up 401 yards on the night. In addition, the Bulldogs returned a punt 76 yards for another touchdown, setting off fireworks the entire night as the number two ranked team in the state remained undefeated on the season.

Earle (7-0, 4-0) scored on the second play of their first possession after Michael Wilson intercepted a Josh Miles pass deep in Lion territory. Wilson squirted 18 yards for the game's first score and the Bulldogs never looked back. Benequez Williams powered over for two point conversion run, giving Earle an 8-0 lead with just two minutes gone in the game.

Manila turned the ball over for the second time in a row when Steven Green coughed up the football at the Lion 37 yard line. The Bulldogs took just three plays to go ahead 14-0 on a 10 yard touchdown romp by Williams with 8:52 remaining in the first period. Derrick Jarrett converted the two point run to push the Earle lead to 16-0.

Bulldog Michael Wilson (3) and Manila's Spencer Cain (88) battle for the football Friday night in senior boys action at Earle.

Manila finally picked up a first down on their third possession, but Miles was picked off for the second time of the night by Jarrett, setting up another Bulldog score. Justin Johnson exploded for a 37 yard scoring scamper and Timothy Walker added the two point conversion to give Earle a 24-0 lead at the 6:03 mark of the opening period.

Earle struck again after a Manila punt when Jarrett bolted 65 yards down the left sideline for the Bulldog's fourth score of the night. Bobby Merritt's two point conversion run pushed the Earle lead to 32-0 with 2:50 left in the first period.

Earle wasn't finished in the opening quarter, as Williams fielded a Frankie Cowgill punt at his own 24 yard line and raced 76 yards untouched to complete the Bulldog's first quarter scoring barrage. Terrence Dent ran in the two point conversion as Earle closed the first quarter with a 40-0 lead.

"We knew it was going to be a tough night," said Manila Coach Toby Doke. "Earle has so much talent and speed. We just couldn't keep up with them. Our kids gave it all they had, but we just couldn't contain them."

anila wide receiver John Willbanks (21) looks for running room Friday night at Earle. (Town Crier photos/Trent Fletcher)

Earle continued to pour it on in the second quarter, scoring three more times to build a 60-0 lead at the half. Nathaniel Wright exploded 66 yards through the gut of the Lion defense to give the Bulldogs a 46-0 lead with 10:52 left in the first half. Earle scored again when Anthony Washington rambled 13 yards toward the Manila goal line. The senior lost control of the ball, but Earle's Anthony Maples fell on the ball in the end zone for another Bulldog score. Patrick Kirby's two point conversion run upped the Earle lead to 54-0 with 7:42 left in the half.

Walker capped off the first half scoring with an eight yard touchdown burst as time expired. Merritt converted the two point play, giving Earle a 62-0 lead at the half.

The only scoring in the second half came on a 47 yard touchdown scamper by Dent with 6:40 left in the game, setting the final score at 70-0.

Wright finished the night as the game's leading rusher with 126 yards on just three carries for the Bulldogs. Jarrett had one carry for 65 yards and a score. In addition to Williams' 76 yard punt return for a touchdown, the junior carried three times for 24 yards and another score. Dent rushed twice for 51 yards and a touchdown while Wilson toted the ball three times for 39 yards and a score. Johnson had one carry for a 37 yard touchdown. Walker carried twice for 11 yards and a touchdown while Washington rushed once for 13 yards and a score.

The Bulldog defense stifled Manila all night offensively, holding the Lions to just 52 total yards on 41 plays. Earle came away with five takeaways on the night. Steven Green led the Lions in rushing with eight carries for 20 yards before exiting the game with an injury. Seth Towles rushed three times for 18 yards while Cowgill carried four times for 11 yards. Willbanks rushed seven times for seven yards. The Earle secondary smothered Manila's passing game, holding Miles to an 0-15 night with three interceptions.

"Earle has a great chance to win a state championship," said Doke. "Coach Moody (Maurico) does a great job. They have tons of athleticism which showed tonight. We are playing with a lot of injuries and a lot of sophomores. It's frustrating for our kids, but it's not their fault. They are trying to do the best they can, and when they are matched up with a team like that, it's tough on them. We will just try to learn from it and get better."

"My hat is off to Manila," said Earle Coach Maurico Moody. "They are a first year club and they still have a lot of work to do. Coach Doke is doing a great job with their team, and they will get better. Trust me, we did everything we could to hold the score down. We have a real good ball club, but we still have some things we need to work on. We just try to get better and better each week."

Manila saw their record drop to 1-6 overall and 0-4 in league play. The Lions will return to action Friday night as they play host to Corning in another 3A-3 conference tilt.

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