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Fork prepares for season opener

Playing their final preseason game Friday night, the King’s Fork football team could not come from behind from a 17-point deficit at halftime, losing to visiting Lafayette, 27-13.

Lafayette scored on a 37-yard pass play on the opening drive of the game. T.J. Ptachick, the Lafayette receiver, was able to outpace the Bulldog defense and open up a 10-yard gap that ultimately left him wide open. The extra point was successful, giving the Rams a quick 7-0 lead.

On Fork’s first series of downs, on 2nd-and-10, quarterback Sha’ka Miller got the green light to go to the air.

Miller found sophomore receiver Michael Mason for a 10-yard passing play. On the first down, though, KF fumbled and Lafayette recovered on the Bulldogs’ 30-yard line.

The Rams needed just four downs to find the end zone, but couldn’t complete the extra point. Lafayette found success again early in the second quarter, pulling ahead 20-0 on an 8-yard run up the middle.

Starting from their own 20 off the kickoff, the Bulldogs called another quick passing route from Miller to Mason for three yards. The next play was a handoff from Miller to running back Donte Long who picked up another three yards. On 3rd-and-4, Miller again went for a pass to a double-covered Mason who made a spectacular catch for a 29-yard gain.

On first down, Miller handed off to sophomore Stephen Riddick who advanced it another 26 yards, which eventually set up a 31-yard field goal from kicker Kurt McIntyre to get King’s Fork on the board 20-3. The drive was 8 plays for a total of 66 yards.

On the next Lafayette drive, the Bulldog defense forced a fumble on the Rams’ 34-yard line. Two plays later, Miller made a bad pass into a crowd of Rams for an interception. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Lafayette could not advance the football before the first half expired.

Down by 17, King’s Fork needed some significant motivation. &uot;During halftime, we challenged our team,&uot; said head coach Cecil Phillips. &uot;We wanted to see what they were made of.&uot;

The challenge worked, as KF took the field and held the ball for nearly the entire third quarter.

KF found themselves in a 4th-and-1 situation on the Rams’ 21-yard line. Coach Phillips called a timeout, setting up a play to get the required yardage. From the snap, Miller gave the ball to fullback Stedman Beatty who went three yards up the middle for the first down.

With the ball in the red-zone, the Bulldogs got a 1st-and-goal, but Miller was sacked on 3rd-and-9 for an eight-yard loss. McIntyre came on the field for the successful field goal, ending the 10-minute long drive and putting King’s Fork closer at 20-6.

On the subsequent drive, the Bulldogs forced a punt, but KF couldn’t cut into the lead, turning the ball over on downs. The Rams took control and drove the length of the field, ultimately finding the end zone on a 35-yard pass and completing the extra point to go ahead 27-6.

The Bulldogs then pulled Miller and the rest of the first-string, putting in the second-string offense with Mason at quarterback. Returning the kickoff, Jacob Fremeau ran the ball back 30 yards after initially fumbling the catch. On the first play of the drive, sophomore running back Raheem Artis took a handoff and carried the ball 27 yards. In an aggressive offensive position, the Bulldogs again looked to their passing game, as Mason found a wide-open Ramone Worthington who went 24 yards down the left sideline for the touchdown. McIntyre’s extra point was good.

&uot;We accomplished what we needed to – we just got beat on a couple plays,&uot; said coach Phillips. &uot;[Miller] is starting to look more comfortable behind the center, and [McIntyre]’s going to be a weapon – he has a lot of potential.&uot;

The Bulldogs play their first regular season game on the road at Norview on Thursday.

After last September, the Pilots are now Fork’s first non-district football rival.

In last season’s opening game, the Bulldogs got their first win in school history, 24-21, at Norview’s expense.