EUSTACE - High school football got underway Friday night with the Blooming Grove Lions invading the Dog Pound at Eustace High School. The Bulldogs looked to defend their home turf in a hard fought non-district battle between two programs with a documented history.
The Bulldogs’ defense came up big in the first quarter when defensive lineman Cody Byrd recovered a Lions’ fumble. This set up the Bulldogs’ first score when quarterback Paxton Schwartz reached paydirt with 4:08 left in the first. Place kicker David Austin added on the extra point giving the Bulldogs the early lead 7-0.
The Bulldogs’ offensive woes continued in the fourth quarter as the Lions were able to force a Bulldog punt.
The Lions took over near midfield and was able to move the ball against the Bulldog defense. The Lions’ Beacom rushed for 11 yards before quarterback Kelton Bell found Bryson Fisher on a 42 yard completion.
The Lions’ Timmy Hamilton found pay dirt on the next play giving the Lions their first lead of the game 12-7. The Lions went for two and Kelton Bell connected with Colton Nicholson for the two point conversion giving the Lions a 14- 7 lead with 10:52 left in the fourth quarter.
On the ensuing possession, the Bulldogs showed they were not finished yet. Schwartz connected with wide receiver Cade Adair for a 38 yard gain that found the Bulldogs on the two yard line. Jake Haney found the end zone on the next play and David Austin’s extra point was good, tieing the game 14 to 14.
The Bulldogs held the Lions to a punt on the next possession.
During the punt return, a mis-handeled bounce gave the Lions the ball on the Bulldog 6 yard line when Nicholson recovered the ball for the Lions.
Hamilton found the end zone for the Lions on the next play but the score was called back due to a holding penalty on the Lions. The Lions were forced to settle for a field goal. Lion place kicker Emanuel Rosas kicked a 24 yard field goal to give the Lions a 17-14 lead with 4:53 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs showed a little spark before the Lions came up big once againg on defense. Lions’ linebacker Jackson Hoover picked off a Schwartz pass near midfield allowing the Lions to hold off the Bulldogs for the win.
The Bulldogs look to get in the win column Sept. 4 as they host the Lone Oak Buffaloes in non-district action.