Bulldogs can’t pull off upset

Published 11:45 pm Friday, October 25, 2013

By Matthew Hatfield


Last year, the King’s Fork Bulldogs enjoyed their best football season in school history by making the playoffs, upsetting Grassfield and nearly doing the unthinkable when they took Southeastern District juggernaut Oscar Smith to the brink in an exhilarating double-overtime loss.

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King’s Fork entered Friday night’s road tilt at Beard-DeLong-Easley Field in Chesapeake hoping to be involved in another classic, but it couldn’t contain the nationally-ranked powerhouse. The Bulldogs were overwhelmed by Oscar Smith’s size, speed, strength and playmakers in a 62-12 defeat.

Coach Joe Jones is optimistic his team will get better from facing one of the most explosive football teams in all of Virginia with the playoffs right around the corner.

“We told our team Monday that this is the best team we’re going to play for the rest of the season and probably into the playoffs. We won’t see many teams like this,” Jones said afterwards. “Defensively, they’re big and smother you. Offensively, they’re big and strong, run well, throw well. Sometimes it’s just a little bit of physics when you put a 200-pounder against someone who’s 285 and just as athletic.”

The Bulldogs went backwards on five of their first eight plays from scrimmage as the Tigers’ dominating defensive line consisting of All-American and U.Va. commit Andrew Brown, Josh Sweat, Chris White and Keshaan Cuffee wreaked havoc in the opposing backfield immediately.

Oscar Smith scored on a 66-yard punt return by Monty Fenner and quickly increased its lead to 14-0 only three minutes later on a 47-yard run from Deshawn McClease. King’s Fork kept Oscar Smith from adding to that advantage when junior defensive back Trelen Cox intercepted a pass in the end zone. But the Bulldogs’ offense failed to capitalize, picking up only one first down, which came via a penalty, on their first seven possessions.

As a result, the Tigers worked with excellent field position most of the night, gaining 228 yards in the first half to the Bulldogs’ 65. Oscar Smith broke off seven plays of 10 yards or longer compared to just one for King’s Fork, coming on a 37-yard run from sophomore running back Deshaun Wethington.

“They took away most of what we like to do. We’re not going to go away from it for the rest of the season because it got us through seven games,” Jones said.

King’s Fork did not help itself with several self-inflicted miscues. The Bulldogs committed eight penalties for 54 yards in the first half and also turned it over three times, leading directly to 14 Oscar Smith points. A 20-0 lead for Oscar Smith at the end of the opening period ballooned 41-0 at halftime.

The entire second half was played with a running clock. Trailing 48-0 at the start of the fourth quarter, King’s Fork got its first touchdown on a nine-yard run from senior quarterback Uriah Adams that was set up by a 51-yard run from Wethington the play before. Wethington would find the end zone with 8:51 left in the contest on a five-yard run to trim the Oscar Smith lead to 36.

With the loss, King’s Fork drops to 6-2 overall. Next up for the Bulldogs is a home matchup against Hickory (2-6) and then they travel to Western Branch (7-1) to close out the regular season.