Bulldogs survive slop, Hawks, for 12-9 win

Published 11:44 pm Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday’s football game at King’s Fork High was about as ugly as the weather, which featured persistent rain of varying intensities. The host Bulldogs prevailed 12-9, but the contest was hardly a display of gridiron greatness.

King’s Fork fumbled five times, though only one resulted in a turnover. The Bulldogs also limited the Hawks to seven yards rushing and 20 yards of offense, but didn’t nail down the victory until fewer than two minutes remained.

Hickory lost its two fumbles during the evening and twice suffered long losses on high snaps, one on a punt attempt. Hawk quarterback Danny Grauer completed one of 10 passes for 13 yards while his King’s Fork counterpart, Laray Kindred, completed two of six passes for 24 yards and had a toss intercepted.

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The teams combined for 120 penalty yards and numerous plays ended prematurely when a runner slipped and fell on wet grass. Still, the victory allowed King’s Fork to improve to 4-4 overall and 3-4 in district play, with a visit to Great Bridge and a home game against Grassfield on the docket for the next two weeks.

Bulldog junior A.J. Harper ran for a game-high 144 yards in 23 carries and scored on runs of 50 and 11 yards, the former on a fake punt eight minutes into the game that put his team up 6-0. Harper’s second score came on a sweep to the left five minutes before halftime, one play after Hickory was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Hickory (1-7, 1-6) pulled within 12-7 with eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. A Hawk tipped a Harper punt from near the Bulldogs’ end zone and the visitors began their subsequent drive on King’s Fork’s 20-yard line. Logan Hubbard ran on four of the drive’s five plays, including a 1-yard touchdown run. Tim Ward added the extra point.

The Bulldogs took over at their 24-yard line following the kickoff, but Kindred fumbled and teammate Logan Sorenson recovered for a 13-yard loss on second down. After Kindred ran and lost another yard on third down, a low punt snap forced Harper to catch the ball and fall on his stomach in the end zone, giving Hickory two points for a safety with four minutes to play.

Hickory’s next drive ended three plays after the kickoff when an attempted reverse was fumbled by Nicholas Shaw and King’s Fork’s Dominique Patterson recovered.

Still, the Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs four plays later and weren’t assured of victory until they stopped Hickory on fourth-and-15 from the Hawks’ 35-yard line with 1:24 to play.

King’s Fork, which entered Friday night rated No. 12 in the Division 5 playoff standings, goes to Great Bridge next Friday.