Nathan Denson scored three touchdowns and Jalen Seahorn ran for 120 yards in the Eustace Bulldogs’ 30-16 homecoming win over the Malakoff Tigers Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.
The Bulldogs (3-3 overall) improved to 2-0 in District 7-2A DI play and took an important step toward qualifying for the school’s fifth consecutive playoff appearance. They felt none too bad taking that step over the Tigers (4-2, 1-1), who attend school just a few miles down the road.
“There was a lot of build-up leading up to this,” Eustace head coach Brian Herman said. “Our kids were able to channel that. They came out strong and inspired, and they played the way we wanted them to.”
The Bulldogs won they way they like to — running the football and passing only when an opening presented itself. They threw just once — a 22-yard completion from Ryan Brown to Jalen Seahorn — and handed off to backs on their other 59 offensive plays from scrimmage.
The result was a 365-yard rushing night and a solid victory a week after a 45-0 drubbing of another area rival, Kemp.
The Tigers tried to make a game of it after entering the fourth quarter down 30-0. Tate Taylor scored from one yard out on the first play of the fourth quarter, and Damontes Dowell ran in the two-point conversion to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 30-8 with 11:54 to go. The seven-play, 75-yard drive began with Taylor’s 55-yard completion to Terrance Scott.
Taylor connected with Dariuhn Jackson on a 35-yard scoring pass with 4:20 left, with a second Dowell two-point conversion trimming to lead to 14 points. But the Bulldogs ran for three first downs on their next drive to keep the ball out of the Tigers’ hands and kill the clock.
The Bulldogs built a 16-0 halftime lead despite turning the ball over on their first two possessions. Eustace’s third possession was a 14-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Denson’s first touchdown of the game from a yard out. The Bulldogs converted a pair of 4th-and-1 plays to keep the drive alive.
The Tigers bobbled the ensuing kickoff and ended up with the ball at their own 1. Three plays later, Damontes Dowell caught a pass in the end zone and fell down as a trio of Bulldogs closed in on him for a safety that pushed the Eustace advantage to 9-0.
A pair of kickoffs out of bounds by the Tigers set Eustace up at the Malakoff 37 late in the second quarter, and the Bulldogs found the end zone on a three-yard Denson run to make it 16-0. The drive was kept alive by Seahorn’s 38-yard run on 3rd-and-23 from midfield.
A 60-yard Seahorn dash and Denson’s 37-yard scoring run in the third quarter put the Bulldogs ahead 30-0.
“We came out and played smash-mouth football — that’s all there is to it,” sophomore Nathan Denson said. “We worked hard all week for this.”
Eustace 30, Malakoff 16
Malakoff 0 0 0 16 — 16
Eustace 0 16 14 0 — 30
E — Nathan Denson 1 run (Kyle Purselley kick), 5:20
E — Safety (Damontes Dowell falls in EZ), 4:30
E — Denson 3 run (Purselley kick), 0:55
E — Jalen Seahorn 60 run (Purselley kick), 7:05
E — Denson 37 run (Purselley kick), 2:56
M — Tate Taylor 1 run (Dowell run), 11:54
M — Dariuhn Jackson 35 pass from Taylor (Dowell run), 4:20
First downs 9 19
Rush-yards 20-58 59-343
Passing yards 155 22
C-A-I 8-17-0 1-1-22
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-2
Punts-avg. 2-33.0 0
Penalties-yards 7-55 4-41
Rushing — M: Damontes Dowell 8-36; Tate Taylor 9-26; Marcus Dowell 2-(-3); Terrance Scott 1-(-1). E: Jesus Barcenas 14-49; Adam Carson 9-50; Ryan Brown 2-(-1); Jalen Seahorn 9-120; Tyler Folsom 10-44; Nathan Denson 14-81; team 1-0.
Passing — M: Tate Taylor 8-17-0-155. E: Ryan Brown 1-1-0-22.
Receiving — M: Terrance Scott 3-73; Damontes Dowell 2-8; Dariuhn Jackson 2-68; Stephan Wolfe 1-6. E: Jalen Seahorn 1-22.