The ECI Bulldogs hosted the Screven Co. Gamecocks on senior recognition night Friday, defeating the visiting team 27-10 in both team’s first region game.
The Bulldogs had their lowest rushing total game in 2020 against the Gamecocks massive defensive line in a losing effort 18-14. They brought the biscuit eaters to Rountree Stadium this year.
It was a defensive battle in the first quarter with both teams combining for just 64 yards of offense.
After the Bulldog defense forced a Gamecock punt, the Bulldogs’ only possession of the quarter bogged down after a holding penalty had them third and 25.
After ECI’s defense stopped Screven on fourth down to begin the second quarter, the Bulldogs’ offense put the first points on the board.
The Bulldogs matched both team’s offensive total up to that point in the drive marching 65 yards setup on a 34 yard run by DJ Jones. Using Jones and elusive PJ Farnum they took the lead on a two yard run by Jones for the touchdown. Samuel McBride’s point was true and the Bulldogs led 7-0 with 6:02 left in the half.
The Gamecocks started the next drive at their own 20. Aided by a couple of questionable defensive penalties called on the Bulldogs, Screven found themselves first and goal at the 3 yard line.
The Bulldog defense bowed up and held the Gamecocks out of the endzone forcing a short field goal with 14 seconds left in the half. The kick was good and ECI led Screven Co. 7-3 at the break.
The Bulldog defense stood the wall during the drive in the red zone. They held the Gamecock offense out of the end zone on 8 plays inside the Bulldog 10 yard line.
The Bulldogs took the opening kickoff down to the Screven 36 to begin the third quarter. After 3 penalties the Bulldogs found themselves way behind the chains at third and 27 from their own 49. Looking to get some yardage to set up the punt with 27 to go for a first down, Kearson handed off to Cordarius Lee who scampered for 29 yards to extend the drive. Sophomore Devon Edmond took the next handoff and weaved his way for a 21 yard touchdown run to put the Bulldogs up 14-3 with 9:35 left in the quarter.
After the Bulldog defense forced a 3 and out on the Gamecock’s next drive, the Bulldogs would add their second touchdown of the third quarter. Set up by a Lee 42 yard run, Jones ran the final one yard for a 21-3 Bulldog lead.
The Bulldog defense was on a mission in the second half limiting the Gamecock offense to just 18 total yards in the third quarter.
Unable to move the ball on the ground Sceven found some success through the air. On the first play of the fourth quarter the Gamecock quarterback Pollock hit his wide receiver Adams on a short seam route for a 70 yard touchdown cutting into the Bulldog lead 21-10.
The Bulldogs started the ensuing drive at their own 45. After a 12 yard run by Bryce Kearson and a leaping catch by Jeremiah Mack the Bulldogs were at the Gamecock 20. A QB sneak was called on fourth down from there. Kearson found the middle wide open, cut to his right and out ran the defensive back to the corner to put extend the Bulldog lead to 27-10 with 9:34 left in the game.
The Bulldogs looked to add to their score on the Gamecocks last possession of the game. KJ Carlyle stepped in front of a Pollock pass returning it 70 yards for a touchdown but a block in the back negated the TD. The Bulldogs ran out the clock to win their first region game 27-10.
The Bulldog defense turned up the heat in the second half holding the Gamecocks to just 12 yards rushing and 87 for the game.
ECI rushed for 244 yards on 36 carries for a 6.8 yards per carry average.
Cordarius Lee carried the ball 4 times for 86 yards with Jones running for 56. Kearson rushed for 37, and Farnum with 36, was right behind. Edmonds carried the ball twice for 29 yards.
Kearson was 3-4 for 12 yards with Mack grabbing 2 and Farnum one.
The Bulldogs host Portal Friday for the ECI homecoming game. Portal shocked the Bulldogs in 2011 defeating ECI on homecoming for their last win against the Bulldogs.