Siegel started their night off with a rare fumble from stud running back, Lelan Wilhoite. The fumble came on the teams second possession of the game.
The Stars managed to keep Smyrna from cashing in on their early misfortunes, as the Bulldogs went three and out following the fumble recovery. But on the subsequent Smyrna punt, Siegel’s, Ethan Vanhook, called for a fair catch, only to miss judge the kick and have the ball go through his arms. Smyrna, once again hopping on the loose ball.
Smyran took full advantage of this opportunity. As “Do It All” back, Blake Watkins for the Bulldogs, rumbled down the side, somersaulting into the end zone. The score, giving his Dogs the early 7-0 lead.
Siegel continued to follow suite on their next drive. Turning the ball over yet again, this time by way of not converting on fourth down.
To start the second quarter, Smyrna returned the favor when they too attempted a fourth down conversion. Failing on a fake punt play.
All the momentum Siegel acquired from their big stop, went away the very next play. When the Stars put the ball on ground for the second time. And for the second time, Smyrna would recover the stripped ball.
Being thrown into a tough spot again by their offense, the Star D thwarted disaster by stopping Smyrna. Forcing a three out.
The Stars finally found themselves moving the ball effectively in the half for the first time. Marching all the way down to the Smyrna one yard line. Though the Bulldog D bent, it did not break. As a whole pound of Bulldogs sacked Siegel QB, Brendan Crowell.
Adding insult to injury, Smyrna broke through Siegel’s line on their field goal attempt. Blocking the kick and leaving Siegel wondering what it was going to take to get points on the board.
The huge special teams play was exactly what Smyrna’s O needed. On the drive’s second play, QB Alex Bannister, threw a screen to his wide out, Trae Brimm. Resulting in a 66 yard dash to the end zone. The Bulldogs now sitting pretty, up 14-0.
With only 1:16 left in the first half, the Stars knew they had to work fast if they wanted to salvage this first half of poor play.
After two big runs to keep the drive alive by Wilhoite, Crowell saw wide receiver, Caleb Bull behind his corner and heading for pay dirt. Crowell’s pass was pin point perfect to the back corner of the end zone and to his target, Bull.
The score at the half, Smyrna 14, Siegel 7.
Looking to catch Smyrna sleeping, Siegel tried an onside kick to start half… only to watch the ball role roughly nine yards, ending in a penalty for an illegal kick. The special teams blunder set the Dogs up with great field position.
And before you could make a wish upon a star, Blake Williams was crossing the goal line again. Eluding defenders for a 45 yard touchdown run on the very first play in the second half. Extending his team’s lead, 21-7.
With Siegel back on the ball and Wilhoite not finding any room on the ground, the Stars go back to the air. Crowell, dropping back in the pocket, fires deep to his left, and right into the waiting arms of Bulldog DB, Bailey Woodall. Woodall, blanketed the Star wide out, basically running his route for him on the play. During the interception, Smyrna committed a block in the back penalty, negating the return yards by Woodall.
Aiming to put this one away in the third quarter, Smyrna came out tossing the rock. But Bannister, didn’t have to toss the ball very far. Finding Tevin Shipp, nine yards down field. Shipp, then did the rest of the 45 yards on his own. Culminating in a touchdown throw and catch of 54 yards for the Bulldogs. 7:44 now remaining in the third with the Bulldogs up 28-7.
With things beginning to look rather bleak for the Stars, Crowell would not give in. Marching his squad down the field and for the second time hooking with his main man, Bull. The Crowell and Bull connection came from 23 yards out and the catch was made in almost the exact same spot as the first TD toss.
Now showing signs of life, Siegel shot themselves in the foot on the following kick-off. Despite it just being midway through the third and only trailing by two scores, the Stars attempted another onside kick. The kick this time traveled more than 10 yards, but it also traveled into the waiting arms of a Bulldog.
Missing out on the onside’s for the second time during the night appears to deflate anything the Stars had left. And if it didn’t, number 33, Shipp, did with his 33 yard TD run on a reverse play.
From that point on, it was all Bulldogs. Scoring one more touchdown on the night, this time on the legs of back up tail back, Jordan Carter, from yard out. Cementing their victory at 42-14.
After the game I caught up the winning coach, Matt Williams…
Q. You get the big win tonight, but you were coming off a disappointing performance last week. Can you speak on what tonight says about your teams character and resilience?
We have a lot of high character young men in this program and we all pulled together. This week we had some kids sick and couldn’t play tonight, but I thought we had kids come in and step up. I’m just so proud of our young men and the resolve they showed when things during the school day didn’t go great.
Next Friday Smyrna travel to cross town rival, Stewarts Creek, in an ever important Region 5 game.
As for the Stars, with their playoff hopes just about burned out, they face the state’s top team, the Oakland Patriots.