The seventh ranked Dublin Irish came rolling into Rountree Stadium Friday evening to face the Bulldogs in ECI’s homecoming game. The Bulldogs won their homecoming game against the bigger, more experienced and heavily favored Irish in a low scoring game, 10-7. The Bulldog defense held Dublin without an offensive touchdown, limiting the Irish to just 96 offensive yards. The only Irish points were on a second half kickoff return to start the third quarter. The victory against the Irish also gave Chris Kearson his 100th win as head coach of the ECI Bulldogs.
“What a difference a week makes…..we did something Friday that we haven’t done yet, play as a TEAM,” commented coach Kearson. We set aside everything we hear, all the negative comments and played as one team after one goal and it was great to see the smiles and excitement on their faces Friday night. That’s what it’s all about.”
The Bulldogs took the opening kickoff and put the first points on the board. On the twelfth play of the drive, sophomore quarterback Chase Johnson hit his classmate, Daon Bethea for a 42-yard touchdown. Keeping his eye on the ball, Bethea made a great catch after the ball passed through the defender’s hands to complete the pass. The Bulldog’s special team set the Bulldogs up in business at the Dublin 45 when they blocked a Dublin punt in their initial drive of the night. The drive bogged down for the Bulldogs after getting way behind the chains on a chop block that put them at first and 25. Neither team was able to mount a scoring drive in the second quarter as the half ended with ECI leading 7-0.
The Irish took the opening kickoff of the second half and tied the game on a 96-yard kickoff return to make the score 7-7. The Bulldogs took the ensuing kickoff and drove to the Dublin 21. Oisin Matthews put the Bulldogs back into the lead on a 37-yard field goal for a 10-7 score. The Irish never mounted a scoring threat in the third quarter as the Bulldogs took a 3-point lead into the fourth.
Both teams had turnovers in the fourth quarter. One Bulldog turnover and scoop put the Irish in business at the Bulldog 5-yard line with three minutes left in the game.
On first and goal at the Bulldog five, the ECI defense, playing their best game of the year forced the Irish to try a field goal. On first and goal, Brian Steele met the runner at the handoff for a 5-yard loss. Chase Johnson broke up two Irish passes in the endzone to force the field goal try. The Dublin field goal try was wide right with the Bulldogs leading 10-7 with 2:32 still remaining. The Irish got the ball back with 55 seconds left in the game, but only gained a couple of yards as time ran off the clock completing the Bulldog upset. The Bulldogs used a stable of 7 running backs to rush for 160 yards completing 1 of 3 passes for 42 yards and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs have a short time to celebrate as they will travel up the road to face second ranked Swainsboro Friday night at Tiger Field in another non-region match-up.
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