The Bulldogs opened their season on August 22nd with a non-conference game against Jackson County. It was a game of inches, according to Head Coach Kyle Shoulders. The Dawgs lost 13-14 on a couple of missed opportunities: a failure in the third quarter to get the extra point and a turnover on the 20 in the fourth quarter after attempting to carry instead of kicking in a field goal. But, it was an exciting game. It was close. “And those are fun,” Coach Shoulders said. “It’s better to be involved in a one-point loss than a 21 point loss.”
The Bulldogs are a young team this year, starting nine sophomores. On one of the hottest nights of the year, they gave the game everything they had. Pre-game conditioning and the support of the coaching staff and water rustlers kept them on the field. A rush by sophomore Michael Tirjan in the first quarter gave the team’s it’s first touchdown. The ball was kicked in for the extra point by senior Quinton Goad. A thirty yard interception by sophomore Elijah Byfield produced the Dawg’s second touchdown in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Billy York made 11 tackles and 4 assists. Sophomore Justin Bergdorff made 5 tackles and 5 assists. Sophomore Josh Tirjan made 7 tackles and an assist. Sophomore Michael Tirjan made 6 tackles, 4 assists and a touchdown. Junior Eric Garcia made 6 tackles, 1 assist and 1 fumble recovery. Sophomore Brian Ellingson made 5 tackles and 7 assists.
“This team beat us by about 40 points last year,” Coach Shoulders said. “We’re going to work this week on ourselves. We made some mistakes tonight that could have been prevented, that Jackson County didn’t cause, such as putting the ball on the ground and missing some plays here and there. So, we’re going to work on ourselves the first of the week and then we’ll get on to Sale Creek on Saturday. One loss doesn’t make or break the season. We’ve got a lot of games and and a lot of success ahead of us.”
The Bulldogs travel for a non-league game to Sale Creek on Saturday, August 30th. The following week, they have a home game against Gordonsville on Friday, September 5th. If you missed the game against Jackson County, you can see it on NCTV channels 96 or 97. It’s better on the field: the lights, the camaraderie, the noise, highs and lows, but if you can’t get to the games this season, you can watch them on NCTV.