Bulldogs drop defensive struggle

Published 10:49 pm Thursday, September 3, 2009

PORTSMOUTH – In a contest between two teams that hope to be in the Eastern Region playoff discussion in a couple months, Churchland did just enough to hang on and beat King’s Fork 10-8 Thursday night.

Despite getting two first downs in the final 38 minutes of the game, the Trucker defense benefitted from three interceptions thrown by Bulldog quarterback Laray Kindred, the final one stopping KF’s final chance for a go-ahead score with 0:46 remaining in the game.

It was the opening game of the campaign for both the Bulldogs and the Truckers and it showed on both sides. For Churchland, the opening-week rust came in the form of penalties. The Truckers were flagged 21 times for 150 yards.

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For the Bulldogs, moving the ball was the main problem for most of the night. Then when KF began putting something together, the three interceptions were too costly to overcome.

Churchland’s first chance on offense was their best drive of the game. Starting on the KF 42, after the Bulldog’s opening possession went nowhere, the Truckers ran 12 plays, all on the ground, and covered the 42 yards in 7:10 to take a 7-0 lead.

King’s Fork’s first first down of the game came midway through the second quarter on a run by Dominique Patterson.

The Bulldogs’ best drive of the opening half came in the closing minute of the half. The Bulldogs were given two first downs thanks to Churchland penalties. KF got to the Churchland 25 before Kindred’s first interception of the game, on a throw into the end zone, stopped that chance to get on the board.

Churchland used another grinding, time-eating drive starting the second half and finished it with a 30-yard field goal to go up 10-0.

King’s Fork moved the ball again on its first possession of the second half, but came up empty after another turnover.

The Bulldogs’ first big passing play of the game was a 24-yard completion from Kindred to Derek Wright and it got KF out of a 3rd and 10. The Bulldogs advanced to the Churchland 17 before back-to-back sacks brought up 3rd and 25 and the end of the third quarter.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Kindred threw a screen into the flat for Patterson. The pass was behind Patterson and ruled a fumble. Churchland recovered it at the 50.

KF’s defense held, but the Bulldogs took over their next drive on their own 16. Completions to Zack Super and Patterson got KF going and a pair of Churchland penalties moved the ball to the Trucker 35.

Kindred gained 10 yards on a sweep and a Churchland facemask penalty moved the ball to the Trucker 10. On second down from the nine, Kindred connected with Tyrelle Shepherd with a nicely lobbed pass into the left side of the end zone. KF ran the exact same pattern, with Shepherd as the receiver again, to score the two-point conversion, leaving 7:00 to go.

KF’s defense held Churchland to three plays and out twice in the last seven minutes and the last two Bulldog possessions started in good field position, but ended in interceptions.

“We got a tremendous defensive effort,” said King’s Fork head coach Joe Jones.

“I think this shows our defense can play with anybody, but I’m very disappointed and I’m not going to sleep well tonight,” said Jones.

“The offense clicked a little bit better in the second half, but not enough,” said Jones.

Patterson finished with 14 carries for 43 yards and two receptions for 20 yards. Kindred was 7-for-15 passing for 80 yards.

King’s Fork (0-1, 0-0) hosts Hickory in the home opener and Southeastern District opener next Friday evening at 7 p.m.