The team played their home opener at the Calhoun Rec Department field and used a fast start to get an early lead before coasting to a 56-6 win over the Georgia Rams.
The win improves the Bulldogs record to 3-0 on the season after opening the year with two road wins.
“I told the guys before the game, we can’t worry about the heat, and we’ve got to come out and set the tone early,” said Bulldogs head coach Mark Bramblett. “We wanted to come out and get a hold of them. That’s what we did. We wanted to shut them down and make them play catch-up, and I knew that was going to be hard for them to do.”
Bramblett described the win as a complete game and that’s exactly what it was. The Bulldogs rushed for 242 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, and added 160 yards and a TD through the air.
The defense played just as well, if not better, limiting the Rams to less than 100 total yards of offense and also forcing five turnovers (four fumble recovers, one interception) as well as a safety. The Rams didn’t cross the 50-yard line on offense until the
“Our defense was lights out all night,” said Bramblett. “They played huge, and our offensive line set the tone by re-establishing our running game which is our bread and butter.”
Patrick Dupree had 84 yards on 12 carries for two TDs as the Bulldogs leading rusher. Clarence Goines added 72 yards on the ground with a TD, and Javari Taylor had 62 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Starting quarterback Jamie White was 4-for-7 passing for 72 yards and a touchdown. He also had a rushing TD. The leading receiver was Mike Emerson with three catches, 76 yards and a score.
Over on the defensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs had several standout performances. Corey Boykin was the leading tackler with seven solo and three assists. Dayton Luther had four solos, four assists, one sack and a fumble recovery, Leslie Alexander had a sack and a fumble recovery and Rich Hendricks had seven total tackles and a sack.
AJ Baker continued his strong start to the season in the secondary, getting in on five total tackles and picking off a pass.
The dominant performance was even more impressive, taking the heat into account. Bramblett said his team has several ways of dealing with the high temperatures.
“We try to have ice towels and ice water on the sideline as well as a water sprayers we use to spray the guys to cool them down,” said Bramblett. “Plus, we’re always talking to our guys about hydrating. Another thing we do that helps is rotate our players a lot so most of them aren’t out there for long periods of time.”
The Bulldogs will now have an off week after the dominant win before returning to the field on July 14 when they host the Montgomery Buffaloes.
Bramblett said even with the big win, his team has several things to focus on improving before returning to the field.
“We’ve got to be more disciplines and cut down on our penalties,” said Bramblett. “If it wasn’t for penalties on Saturday, we would’ve probably had close to 300 yards rushing. Against better teams, those penalties can kill you.
“We’re going to work a lot on our passing game too. We’ve only put in about 50 percent of our offense, so we’ve got some things up our sleeve that people haven’t seen yet.”
The Bulldogs will host the Buffaloes on the July 14 and will then be back at home on July 21 against the West Georgia Falcons.
The team is trying to build on the success of last season, when they went 9-1 before being defeated in the second round of the state playofs.