Bulldogs Over Dodge Co.
The Toombs County High School Bulldogs football team opened up their season at home last Saturday night as the Indians of Dodge County came to town. The Bulldogs played a solid game and got some help late from the Indians on a fumbled punt that sealed the win for Toombs.
The stands were mostly full for this first game of the season. Prior to the game the Bulldogs honored Julio Almanza, who was killed in an accident earlier this year. His jersey was brought out as a captain for the coin toss, and then on Toombs' first offensive play his jersey was laid out on the field at his tackle position to remember him.
Dodge had the ball to start the game, and it was an interesting opening kickoff. The Bulldogs kicked the ball out of bounds twice before Dodge finally got the ball at the 35-yard line to get the game underway. Dodge did work the ball across midfield on a nice pass, but Toombs forced them to punt the ball away.
The kick went into the end zone, and TCHS got to work on offense from their 20yard line. With 7:39 to go in the first quarter Toombs had their first snap with Chandler Lynn moving in behind center. Runs by Brannon Usher and DJ Mincey picked up a first down. A pass from Lynn to Caden VerSluis picked up five yards, but TCHS turned the ball over on downs a few plays later at their 40-yard line with just over four minutes left in the first quarter.
Two plays later the Indians fumbled the ball with Gage Herndon recovering it at the 20- yard line with 2:59 on the clock. Two penalties against Dodge moved the ball out to the 30, but Toombs stalled and had to punt the ball away.
On the first play of the second quarter continued from page
Mincey came up with a leaping interception at the Indians' 37-yard line. Lynn and Mincey combined to get the ball to the 26-yard line. Toombs was facing a fourth and eight, but this time an option outside to Mincey got the first down for the Bulldogs down to the 14yard line with 9:10 left in the first half.
On the next play Mincey went in for the touchdown, but flags flew and the Bulldogs were at the 8-yard line for their next play. Toombs pushed the ball down to the 1-yard line to set up first-and-goal, and on the next play Lynn went up the middle for the first touchdown of the season. Julian Marin-Vital added the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 6:39 to play in the first half.
Dodge County returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. They went for two, but the TCHS defense stopped them and the Bulldogs held a 7-6 lead.
Toombs got back to work and began to move the ball well with Usher getting the bulk of the handoffs. Toombs went across midfield, and Usher had a first down at the Dodge 40-yard line with 3:30 on the clock. Two penalties hurt Toombs and they had to punt the ball away.
Dodge tried a couple of deep passes but missed and the game went to halftime with TCHS up 7-6.
Toombs had the ball to start the second half. A pass to Caden Marsh and a run by Usher got things going as Toombs steadily moved the ball down the field. Usher seemed to be wearing out the Dodge front line as he pounded the ball down the field. Toombs had the ball on the Dodge 4-yard line. Two plays later with 4:46 left in the third Usher was in for the touchdown. Marin-Vital added the extra point for a 14-6 lead.
Toombs defense forced a punt by the Indians, and they got back to work on offense. Usher kept racking up the yards as he took the Bulldogs across midfield on a nice run. Lynn had two positive rushes as the third quarter was coming to an end.
On the first play of the fourth quarter Lynn broke free and went 40 yards for a TCHS touchdown. The hold on the extra point was bobbled and the kick missed. It was the first miss in 40 attempts for Marin-Vital. But the score was 20-6, TCHS.
Dodge had to punt on their next possession and TCHS started at the Dodge 40-yard line. Penalties again hurt the Bulldogs' drive, and they punted the ball away. Dodge found something in their passing game and just a few plays later connected for a 36-yard touchdown strike to close the lead to 20-13 with 6:03 left to play.
Toombs didn't get much going on offense, but got a huge break on special teams. Marin-Vital had to punt the ball away, and he boomed a big one. Dodge's returner was pushed back and fumbled the kick with the Bulldogs' recovering it at the Dodge 7-yard line. On the first play Mincey went in for the score with 4:20 left in the game. That made it 26-13 with Toombs on top.
Dodge hit another big pass play, this time for 70 yards for a touchdown to close it back to 26-20.
Toombs did a good job of running out the clock as they secured the win with the running game, 26-20. The offensive line had a big day for the Bulldogs as they led the way for Usher, who racked up 163 yards rushing.
This week the Bulldogs will travel to Tattnall County on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.