By Justin Gray
The ECI Bulldogs headed to Johnson County in hopes for a win. The offense and defense have both been playing better throughout the past few weeks. Johnson County was 3-0 coming into the game and were six point favorites.
Johnson County received the opening kickoff and the game was underway. They drove down the field and ran it in to make it 7-0 JOCO. The ECI offense looked just as impressive if not more as they drove it down themselves after a long passing play and then RB PJ Farnum punched it in from the five.
The back and forth affair continued as JOCO would have another great offensive drive, punching in a touchdown to make it 14-7. The ensuing drive for the Dawgs was backed up by a false start and then they failed to get a first down having to punt. After the punt, the tough Johnson County offense drove it down and the QB made a terrific play to throw it for a touchdown and put JOCO up 21-7.
You may think this game was getting out of hand, but the Dawgs were resilient and fought back. They were forced to punt on the next drive but the Dawgs defense put JOCO on their back and came up with a huge stop before the half.
The Dawgs received the second half kickoff with a chance to keep themselves in the game. They sustained a long drive and RB Farnum, who was so huge for the Dawgs all night long, ran it in for the touchdown making it 21-14. On the next JOCO drive, the ECI defense came up with a huge third down sack to force a punt. The Dawgs completed a long pass to midfield after the punt, but they couldn’t get out of the way of themselves as a false start backed them up and they couldn’t convert leading to a punt.
Both offenses went silent as they both traded punts and it was back in the hands of JOCO when the ECI defense forced a fumble at midfield to get the ball back. This was now the fourth quarter and the Dawgs were down by a score and needed a touchdown. The Dawg offense got the ball rolling as QB Bryce Kearson hit the WR on the sideline to put the Dawgs inside the ten-yard line. On the next play, RB PJ Farnum picked up his third touchdown of the night and tied the game, 21-21. JOCO ran out the clock and sent the game to overtime.
The Trojans got the ball first in overtime and it took them two plays to get into the end zone, but a missed extra point made it 27-21. The Dawgs had four tries at the end zone but the fourth down pass was broken up and the Dawgs fell short.
This was a heartbreaker for the Dawgs who fought back after being down the whole game, and almost came away with the upset. Coach Kearson said ,“Clearly this team is searching for something good to happen. You have to make your breaks. We didn’t play good at all defensively in the first half but played fantastic in the second half. We didn’t change a thing but our mindset. We knew they were gonna challenge us and that they did, they are a top five team. Our schedule is full of the same kind of competition and we have to make something good happen, not hope for it. Our kids are laying it on the line and I’m extremely proud of them.”
Good things are coming for the Dawgs, but they have to go get them.