By Barrett Steed
HC Courier Sports
The Crockett Bulldogs faced off against the tough-to-beat Madisonville Mustangs on Friday, September 22.
After two weeks on the road and a Saturday Showdown with Trinity in week one, the Crockett Bulldogs returned to the Monte Jack Driskell Stadium for a Friday Night Lights battle with the mighty Madisonville Mustangs in week four. The undefeated Mustangs have been rolling over opponents this season and the Bulldogs looked to level their record. At the end of four hard fought quarters, Madisonville prevailed over Crockett, taking home a 59-21 victory.
Friday's game marked the debut under center for the senior quarterback Marcus Smith. With Smith taking the snaps, senior Derrick Sherman and junior AJ Owens were able to present a pair of tremendous outside threats.
The Bulldogs would get the ball to begin the game. Madisonville's kicker booted the ball well into the endzone and Crockett set up shop on the 20 yard line to begin their first drive. Two hard runs from Sherman put the Bulldogs within 4 yards of the first down marker, but an incomplete pass in the third down set up for a Crockett punt to end their first series.
Crockett fought hard in their first defensive stance. Junior Michael Chance and sophomore Allen Horace made their presence known quickly on the defensive line. Sherman continued to be a threat on both sides of the ball making two consecutive tackles to force Madisonville to contend with a fourth down. But the Mustangs had an answer for fourth down in their kicker who would strike from 29 yards for the first points in the game, putting Madisonville over Crockett 3-0 with eight minutes remaining.
A quick drive from the Bulldogs resulting in a punt poised the Mustangs for another first quarter score, giving Madisonville a 10-0 edge to start the contest.
In the second quarter of play, the Mustangs continued to drive the ball downfield. Senior Ledarrion Jones came up with a big tackle on third down to keep Madisonville out of the red zone. Three consecutive first downs from the Mustangs would be halted by physical stops by seniors Jamorris Whitsey and Darren Hubbard on the defensive line forcing Madisonville to stare at a long third down. And a great play from Horace to disrupt a Mustang runner brought set up another fourth down halt by the boys in blue. However, Madisonville would capitalize on their first drive of the quarter, picking up three points after cashing in on another field goal to stretch the score 13-0.
Throughout the first half of play, the Mustangs would tack more points on the board, scoring 24 unanswered points in the first two quarters and forcing Crockett to have a long walk back to the locker room.
Coming out in the second half, the Bulldogs hit the field determined to put points on the board. A huge touchdown from the Mustangs to kick off the second half would not put out Crockett's second wind and the Bulldogs would begin their first scoring drive of the contest after a hard fought return by LT Tryon was called back and would set the offense up at the 10 yard line. Smith would step into his role as quarterback, finding the speedy Owens for a hefty pick up of 21 yards. Facing third down later in the drive, Smith found Sherman over his shoulder, throwing a strike behind the line of scrimmage. The senior would take the ball 69 yards to cross the goal line, capping off a one minute 90 yard drive for the Bulldogs' first points of the ball game, bringing the score 31-6.
The Mustangs wasted no time in answering Crockett on the scoreboard, but the Bulldogs offense was back at it again in their second drive of the quarter. A great kick return from sophomore Trayvon Sandles allowed Crockett to set up shop on the 27 yard line. Smith connected with Sandles on the first play of the drive for a short gain and get another pickup after finding senior Marcus Shedd downfield. Smith rotated through his receivers, picking up a first down on a pass to Horace down the sidelines. Despite the great progress through the air, a heads up play from a Mustang defender to intercept the pass would halt the drive.
With the offense firing on all cylinders the defense looked to become more of a factor in the contest. After allowing huge gains on the ground, the Bulldogs dug in their heels in the red zone. Big hits from senior Tyress Anderson and sophomore Keyshaun Decorian would allow Crockett to come up with the ball on a fumble recovered in the endzone, stopping what would be a scoring drive and taking the ball over on the 20 yard line.
The Bulldogs would be unable to get anything going in their final possession of the third quarter and Madisonville capitalized once more on another big drive, moving the score 38-6 in favor of the Mustangs.
Madisonville began the fourth quarter with an explosive 51 yard touchdown, continuing their relentless momentum. And after a huge kick off recovery by the Mustangs at the 7 yard line was overturned on an onside kick penalty a collective sigh settled over the stadium and the Crockett offense would go to work in the fourth quarter.
The consistently hard-working freshman Jalyne Carruthers made a hard-running return to the 43 yard line to give the Bulldogs great field position. Smith would find his favorite receiver of the quarter junior Demarcus Richardson for a decent pick up through the air. Smith then followed up with a sideline strike to Sherman for a 22 yard gain and put his offense inside the red zone. The senior would then find Shedd again for a short pick up. Two plays later, Smith would field a snap on the ground and after a series of cutbacks, make to the opposite side of the field for a touchdown on the ground. He would find Anderson for the two point conversion and help the Bulldogs to their second touchdown of the game making it 45-14.
In Crockett's final drive of the game, a huge return from Sandles across midfield, put the Bulldogs a the Mustangs' 48 yard line. After an incompletion, Smith would find Rchardson again, nearly picking up the first down. He would then connect with Shedd to near Madisonville's redzone. The next play, Smith would scramble in the backfield for close to 10 seconds before finding Richardson deep into the red zone, poising Crockett for another score. Smith would get the ball into the hands of Richardson at the 13 yard line and the hard-running senior would take the ball to the house for the third and final score of the game, capping off a 52 yard drive.
With the Crockett Bulldogs' offense coming alive at the end of the game, the damage had already been done. As the Madisonville Mustangs kneeled the ball twice and the final seconds ticked away with the boys in blue taking a 59-21 loss at home.