ECI Bulldogs edge Vidalia 14-8

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ECI hosted Vidalia Friday at Rountree Stadium defeating the Indians 14-8, spoiling the Indian coaching debut of Jason Cameron.

The Bulldogs had an open date last Friday due to Savannah Country Day cancelling a game because of covid restrictions on the team. That game will take place on both team’s open date on October 23 in Savannah.

This was Vidalia’s first game of the season after being shut down for 2 weeks due players testing positive.

The theory is you can call a holding penalty on every offensive play if you wanted. The referee crew calling Friday’s game put that theory to the test calling 9 holding penalties against ECI. In all there were 20 penalties called on both teams for 192 yards. The Bulldogs overcame several infractions to keep drives alive but found it hard to turn those drives into points when you’re put behind the chains.

Although the score doesn’t indicate it, the Bulldogs offense dominated the game holding the ball for over 36 minutes while the defense limited Vidalia offense to under 12 minutes for the entire game. The defense held the Indians to just one first down in the first half and 5 for the entire game.

The Indians had the ball just 6 plays in the first quarter with 2 three and out drives gaining just 6 combined yards.

“I thought we played better in all three phases of the game in comparison to our first game”, commented coach Chris Kearson. “We balled controlled on offense and our defense play much better as a whole and our special teams play improved as well. We’ve still got a lot of room for improvement, but the guys played as a team”.

ECI’s first drive drained over 6 minutes off the clock. They began their initial drive at their own 23 overcoming 2 holding penalties before turning it over on downs at the Vidalia 32-yard line.

The Bulldogs found the endzone on their second drive that started late in the first quarter. ECI drove from their own 37 and put the first points on the board. On third and thirteen from the Indian 22, Chase Whitehead hit his tight end Kris Jackson in the endzone. McBride’s kick was good and ECI led 7-0.

The Bulldogs defense held the Indians out of the endzone for their 2 possessions in the second quarter as the half ended with a 7-0 ECI lead.

The third quarter was the same scenario as the Bulldog offense held on to the ball for almost 10 minutes with their 2 drives while the defense forced two more three and outs against the Indian offense.

After a penalty and sack the Bulldogs were backed up to their own 19-yard line kicking it back to the Indians deep in their own territory. The Vidalia punt returner muffed the punt and the Bulldogs got the ball back at the 50-yard line.

On the third play of the drive, PJ Farnum ran off the left side of the Indian defense and cut back across the middle outrunning the Vidalia defense on a 45-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 Bulldog lead with 7:15 left in the game.

The Indians abandoned their passing game taking the ball at their own 43. On first and ten at the ECI 15, the Indians found the endzone for the first time. But only the referees knew this at the time. Thinking they were stopped short; Vidalia used their hurry up offense to run their quarterback off the right side for what they thought was a touchdown. As they were lining up for the point after, the referees informed them and the Bulldogs that what they thought was a touchdown run by the quarterback was actually a 2-point conversion and the touchdown was scored on the earlier play. So, the Bulldogs led Vidalia 14-8 with 6:10 left to play.

With the momentum on the Indians side trailing by just 6 points Vidalia held the Bulldogs to their first three and out of the game with 4 minutes left. Punter Bryce Kearson got what the Bulldogs needed putting the Indians in a hole when ECI deadened the punt at the one line.

The Indians moved the ball out to the 17-yard line before turning it over on downs with 1:49 left in the game.

ECI got the first down they needed on fourth and one and ran out the clock in the victory formation winning the hard-battle 14-8.

The Bulldogs used a balanced attack during the game rushing for 219 while passing for 116 for a total of 335 yards of offense.

Whitehead used all the positions available hitting both his tight ends, wide receiver and running back for the 116 yards.

Kearson caught 3 passes for 21 yards, Farnum caught 2 for 24, Lawson Mercer grabbed 2 for 36, Trey Hughes snagged 2 for 14 and Jackson caught the 22-yard touchdown pass.

PJ Farnum led the Bulldogs on the ground rushing 17 times for 104 yards and one go ahead touchdown. DJ Jones was right behind with 20 carries and 84 bruising yards.

The Bulldogs have their scheduled open week this Friday before returning to action on October 2 when they travel to Sylvania to play the Screven Co. Gamecocks.

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