SUMITON, Ala. — The Hanceville Bulldogs traveled to Sumiton to take on the Sumiton Christian Eagles to kick off the 2019 season Friday night. A tale of two halves was the story in this game, but Hanceville wound up taking the game in overtime 32-26.
The first quarter saw both defenses make big plays to keep the game scoreless after one. In the second period, though, Hanceville struck first as Bo Joles found Brodie Malcom for a 49-yard touchdown pass to give the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead with 11:21 remaining in the first half. The Eagles tied the game at six on a 28-yard touchdown pass with 9:07 remaining in the half.
The Bulldogs quickly got their running game going on their next drive behind Joles and Logan Guthery. After a nine-yard run by Guthery put them at the 1-yard line, Joles punched it in on the next play to give the Bulldogs a 14-6 lead with 6:15 remaining in the period. Hanceville’s defense got a huge turnover on the next drive as Zack Campbell picked off a bad pass and returned it to the 26.
The run game continued to dominate on the Bulldogs’ next possession as Guthery and Joles carried the load for most of their 11-play drive before Guthery found the end zone on a nine-yard run to increase the lead to 20-6 with 44 seconds remaining in the half.
Campbell picked off another pass on the Eagles’ first play and returned it to the 46. Then Joles found Campbell on the first play for a 46-yard connection and Hanceville held a 26-6 lead at the half.
The start of the third quarter saw Hanceville’s defense force a three-and-out. Then, back-to-back fumbles by both teams saw the Bulldogs looking to extend their lead after a 29-yard pass play from Joles to Trevor Shadden put them at the 5, but a penalty, then a fumble, quickly put an end to their drive. Sumiton Christian was backed up at the six-yard line after back-to-back flags, but they found the end zone on a 94-yard touchdown pass as they cut Hanceville’s lead to 26-12 with 2:20 remaining in the quarter.
Then the Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs as a bad snap on fourth down put the Eagles in excellent field position at the 22. A costly penalty by Hanceville proved to be the difference on the drive as Sumiton Christian would later convert on fourth down, then later on, the Eagles ran a trick pass play on fourth down that led to a touchdown to make it a 26-18 game with 11:42 remaining in the contest.
After a Hanceville punt, the passing game for the Eagles shredded the Bulldogs’ defense as a 42-yard pass play, later followed by an 18-yarder, put Sumiton Christian at the 7-yard line. The Eagles scored on a five-yard run to things up at 26 with 5:01 remaining in the game. The Bulldogs looked to regain some momentum, but Joles threw an interception. The defense, though, forced another Eagles fumble, but Hanceville gave it right back on their next series with another fumble and neither team could find the end zone, sending the game into overtime.
The Bulldogs forced yet another Eagle fumble to start out overtime, then Joles ended the game on the first play, finding the end zone from 10 yards out, to give Hanceville the thrilling 32-26 overtime victory.
Joles finished the game 17 of 32 for 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns, plus 47 more on the ground and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score. Guthrie finished with 73 yards on the ground and a score. Campbell added a pair of interceptions, and Jackson Drake and Kendrick Johnson each added fumble recoveries.
The Bulldogs will look to move to 2-0 when they host Fairview next week.
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