Bulldogs can’t stop Carvers Bay
Nine months of preparation and anticipation for a chance at redemption turned to disappointment for the Marlboro County High football team Friday night.
The Bulldogs could not contain Carvers Bay, falling in the regular season opener 46-28 at McAlpine Stadium.
"We missed a boatload of tackles. We were out of position on other plays. Carvers Bay hit on several deep passes, something we have been focused on preventing," said head coach Dean Boyd.
"It was disappointing because we thought the team was farther along than this, defensively," he said.
Carvers Bay cut through the Bulldog defense for big chunks of yardage. Fourteen times the Bears gained ten yards or more on plays from scrimmage.
The Bulldog offense was successful in moving the football but a couple of miscues helped the Carvers Bay cause.
Marlboro County drove into Bear territory with the opening possession of the contest. However, a fumble gave Carvers Bay the ball near midfield.
The visitors then marched 54 yards to take the early lead. Janaz Sumpter scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak. The Bears' extra point attempt failed.
After starting at their own 3, the Bulldogs answered with a scoring drive of their own. Senior running back Josh Brown capped the march with a 1-yard dive. The Bulldogs' extra point try also failed, leaving the score tied at 6.
Carvers Bay would retake the lead, scoring on a 10-yard pass from Sumpter to Dijon Goss. The Bulldogs answered with a 63- yard drive, cashed in by a short run by Tavorris Ingram. Both scores were followed by missed PATs, leaving a 12-12 tie.
The Bears took the lead for good with a 45-yard run by Sumpter, followed by a 2-point conversion.
Marlboro County failed on a fourth down attempt turning the ball over inside their own territory, setting up another Bears' score.
"There had been a penalty two plays before, which should have made it third down instead of fourth," said Boyd. "I checked with the official on our sideline before the snap and he agreed."
"But the head ref ruled that the play had been fourth down, giving Carvers Bay the ball," Boyd explained.
The Bears capitalized on the gift, driving just 37 yards to add to their lead. An eleven-yard run by Toronto King gave the Bears a 26-12 lead.
Marlboro County was able to get back on the scoreboard before halftime, getting a 26-yard field goal from sophomore placekicker Zach Rogers.
The Marlboro County defense forced its first punt of the game on the Bears' opening possession of the second half. However, the Bulldogs would give the ball back moments later.
A fumbled exchange from the center to the Bulldog punter, allowed the Bears to claim possession at the Marlboro 16. A seven-yard carry by the Bears' Tyrik Reed gave Carvers Bay a 32-15 advantage.
Marlboro County answered with a seven-yard reception by Tyreek Eaddy, cutting the deficit to 32-22.
The Bulldog defense could not stop the Bears on the next possession, allowing Sumpter to get loose for an 18-yard scramble to basically seal the game.
Sumpter added another TD run, this time from 17-yards out.
Iyon Williams gave the Bulldogs the final score of the contest on a 68-yard punt return.
Offensively, the stats looked good for the Bulldogs. Blair finished with 291 yards passing, completing 17 of 30 attempts.
Williams had 87 yards receiving on three catches. Eaddy had 64 yards and a TD on five receptions. Ricktavious McInnis had 3 for 55 and Damiyon Cherry 3 for 40 yards.
Blair also rushed for 108 yards. Ingram added 26 yards and a TD.
"We just have to get back to work. The problems on defense have to get solved. The couple of turnovers hurt us, too. Got to fix those," said a disappointed Boyd.
"You have to give Carvers Bay a lot of credit, though. That is an excellent football team," Boyd concluded.
The Bulldogs will host another Class AA powerhouse this Friday as Cheraw comes to McAlpine Stadium. The Braves opened the season by smashing Darlington, 51-19.