Bulldogs drop two in a row

Published 7:49 pm Saturday, September 24, 2016

Western Branch High School pulled off some crucial fourth-quarter plays to defeat King’s Fork High School 35-14 on Friday.

After starting off the season 2-0, the Bulldogs have now lost their last two games. Before Friday night’s game, Western Branch was 1-2, with one of their losses coming to the Bulldogs’ cross-town rival Lakeland High School.

“Give credit to Western Branch,” coach Scottie Littles said. “They opened the season with a couple of losses, but they regrouped and played hard Friday night. We didn’t execute on some big plays.”

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The Bulldogs played hard, but didn’t do themselves any favors with an excessive amount of penalties. For the game, the Bulldogs were penalized 16 times for 115 yards. Much of the game was close, but at the end of the third quarter, Western Branch led 21-14.

“We definitely have to get better at cleaning up penalties,” Littles said. “The kids even said it themselves; we have to do better with our discipline. Everyone thinks discipline is a punishment when it’s more of a behavior. We have to focus on the little things.”

In the fourth quarter, a big 70-yard Western Branch run gave them a 28-14 lead, and they never looked back. For the second straight game, the Bulldogs allowed a 100-yard rusher as the Bruins’ Brandon Byrd ran for 120 yards.

“We have to wrap up and finish plays better,” cornerback Terrell Hart said. “We didn’t finish, and we couldn’t dig ourselves out of the hole and as a team. Going forward we have to regroup and bounce back.”

“Western Branch is good at what they do,” Littles said. “I think for the first couple of weeks they were finding themselves, but now they’ve gone back to what they are good at.”

The Bulldogs are confident they can get back on track. Immediately after the loss Friday, they were ready to put it behind them and get back to work.

“Everybody is watching us right now,” Littles said. “I never worry about our kids. We have good leadership on this team. Our kids are going to practice hard next week. It’s a matter of fixing the little things and playing the right way.”

Darran Butts led the team in rushing Friday night. Quarterback Justin German threw for 107 yards and three interceptions, not his normal production. Cherrod Joe was the leading receiver with 68 yards.

“We will pick our heads up and learn from this loss,” German said. “When adverse moments come, we have to stay as one and push together.”

King’s Fork returns home this week against Great Bridge at 7 p.m. Sept. 30.