The Bulldogs, who were originally scheduled to play the Montgomery Buffaloes, hosted the Atlanta Chiefs on Saturday night and came away with a hard-fought 12-6 win to remain undefeated on the season at 4-0.
The Chiefs who play in the Gridiron Developmental Football League, took the place of the Buffaloes, whose team recently folded due to financial troubles.
The North Georgia defense came up clutch in the win, as they held on two Chiefs’ fourth-down attempts inside the Bulldogs 35-yard line on the Chiefs last two possessions.
“The defense played a huge role in our win tonight,” said North Georgia head coach Mark Bramblett. “Our defensive line stymied the Chiefs all night and got excellent pressure on their quarterback. Then they came up big twice in the fourth quarter.
“The way the defense played was really huge for us because our offense didn’t play well tonight.”
In all, the Bulldogs defense had nine sacks, two forced fumbles and a touchdown on a fumble recovery, which came early in the fourth quarter. (They had another fumble recovery for a touchdown in the second quarter that was called back on a penalty.) Darius McDonald led the way with seven tackles, two assists, a forced fumble and four sacks.
Nick Rivers also had a big night as he had four solo tackles, three assists, two sacks and the go-ahead fumble recovery for a touchdown. Rich Hendricks added two sacks to go along with three solo tackles, and Corey Boykin had a sack along with four solo tackles.
The Bulldogs offense had a tough time getting anything consistent going all night, but did dent the scoreboard first. They took a 6-0 lead late in the second quarter on a touchdown catch from Jamie White to Mike Emerson.
White finished with 62 yards passing and the TD, and Emerson had a total of 47 yards receiving.
The Bulldogs usually solid running game was held down by the athletic Chiefs defense, as North Georgia’s leading rusher was Patrick Dupree with 42 yards on eight carries. Clarence Goins added 34 yards rushing, and Brisco Bingham ran for 22 yards.
“We had some positives (on offense), but time and time again, either a penalty or missed assignment stopped our drives,” said Bramblett. “Their defense was very, very fast and kept us from doing some things we normally excel at. Hats off to their team and coaching staff for limiting our offense. It was a very physical game, but we gutted out another win.”
The win puts the Bulldogs at 4-0 at the midway point of the season and in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 seed in their conference. They will once again be at home this Saturday as they host the Georgia Falcons, whom they defeated on the road 27-12 earlier in the season.
“We’ve been able to add more of our offense since then, and we have gelled a lot as a team since that game,” said Bramblett.
“Hopefully we can learn from this game and get back on track on Saturday.”
After hosting the Falcons on Saturday, the Bulldogs will have one remaining home game on the schedule, which will be Aug. 4 when the host the Georgia Knights.