ADDISON, Ala. – On a brisk, cool night two evenly matched teams lined up at A.G. Hicks Stadium to decide who would move on to the second round of the state playoffs. The North Sand Mountain Bison came into the game at 7-3 to face the Addison Bulldogs, who at 8-2, had concluded a very successful season. This was supposed to be a contrast in styles. The Bison were known to have trouble running the football but could sling it around the yard with the best of them. Addison, on the other hand, was a powerful running team with a very salty defense.
What emerged during the course of the game was a Johnny Manziel-like performance from Bison senior quarterback Landon Green. Green, who may have stood 5’6″ and weighed around 140 pounds, scrambled around the field like his hair was on fire. Time and time again Bulldog defenders were about to sack the diminutive Green, only to have him escape and complete a pass for a first down.
The Bulldogs started the game by kicking off to the Bison and forced a quick punt. Defensive tackle Jeb Robinson was able to corral Green for one of the few times on the evening for a sack, forcing the punt.
On the Bulldogs’ first play from scrimmage, quarterback Grant Rice fumbled the ball and the Bison recovered at the Addison 38-yard line.
It took the Bison only four plays to go 38 yards for the touchdown. Green took it in from 4 yards out. The extra point was good and at the 7:05 mark of quarter number one, North Sand Mountain led Addison 7-0.
After an exchange of punts, the Bison took over at midfield and moved deep into Bulldog territory. A 17-yard touchdown pass was called back on a Bison penalty. Addison held on fourth down and took over at its own 32.
Another Dawg punt gave the Bison the ball at their own 36. A nine-play drive was capped off by Green taking it in from the 1-yard line. The extra point was good and the Bison led 14-0 in the second quarter. The key play on they drive was Green scrambling around and completing a 28-yard pass on a second-and-23 play. Senior Damon Gentle made the catch. Gentle is even smaller than Green.
Addison took over the ball and began a ball pounding drive against the surprisingly solid Bison defense. The Dawgs suffered a tremendous blow when senior running back/linebacker Caleb Crider went down with some sort of upper body injury. Crider was transported to the hospital by ambulance and no word of his status was available at the time of this report.
The inspired Dawgs responded to the Crider injury by driving in for the first score of the night. Weston “Big Game” Smith took it in from 5 yards out for the touchdown. The Eli Howse extra point was good and at 1:09 of the second quarter, the Bison lead was cut to 14-7. This is how the half ended.
Addison came out fired up in the second half and took the opening kickoff all the way down to the Bison 31. Facing a fourth-and-1 from the 31, Addison went for the first down and Smith was stopped about half the length of the football short.
The Bison took over, and the ensuing drive was the Green drive. Green completed three passes for 19 yards and then capped it off by scrambling 46 yards for the touchdown. Green evaded what seemed like 20 Bulldog defenders during his run for the end zone. It seemed everyone but the public address announcer had a shot to tackle him and no one could. The extra point was no good, and at the 5:01 mark of the third quarter, North Sand Mountain led 20-7. This was Green’s third rushing touchdown of the night.
It was gut check time for the Bulldogs and they responded. Taking possession of the ball at its own 20, Addison drove 80 yards on nine plays. Rice ran it in from the 9-yard line. The 2-point conversion was no good and the Bison lead was cut to 20-13 with 1:02 left in the third quarter.
North Sand Mountain took over and began a great drive from its own 35. The Bison were facing a third-and-20 from their own 36-yard line, when Green and his magic feet struck again. After avoiding several near sacks, Green heaved up a prayer of a pass and it came down into the arms of wide receiver Derek Bearden for 32 yards. It was Bearden’s only catch of the night. The Bison got down to the Addison 10-yard line, but the Dawg defense held firm and stopped the Bison on a crucial fourth-down play.
With 7:01 left in the game, Addison took over at its own 10-yard line. Addison was determined that Green and the Bison offense were not going to get the ball back, so it started running the ball straight at the Bison defense. A combination of runs by Rice, Smith and Roberts drove the Bulldogs down to the Bison 36-yard line. Roberts scrambled around on a first-and-20 play and tried to find Luke Chambers around the goal line. The pass was intercepted at the 4-yard line by junior Lake Bell.
The interception was followed by three kneel downs and Addison’s season was officially done.
North Sand Mountain moves on with a tough 20-13 victory over the Addison Bulldogs. Addison finishes the season at 8-3 while North Sand Mountain will await the winner of the Westbrook Christian/Aliceville game.
It was a good, but not great, season for the Bulldogs. It was a season of “what ifs.” An unusual amount of season-ending injuries to key players didn’t help the team, but there is a good core of players returning so next year should be, as usual, a playoff contending Addison Bulldog team. Remember to keep Crider in your prayers because the injury did appear serious.
Unofficial stats: Addison rushed the ball 39 times for 225 yards with two touchdowns and one fumble. Addison completed four-of-seven passes for 44 yards and one interception. Addison ran 46 plays for 269 total yards. Addison had two turnovers and five penalties for 60 yards.
The Bison rushed the ball 31 times for 168 yards with three touchdowns. The Bison completed 13-of-22 passes for 163 yards. The Bison ran 53 plays for 331 total yards. The Bison had no turnovers but had nine penalties for 102 yards.
Individual numbers for the Addison Bulldogs: Christian Roberts had nine carries for 65 yards, Nelson Martin had three carries for 56 yards, Weston Smith had 12 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown and Grant Rice had nine carries for 20 yards and a touchdown. Luke Chambers had two catches for 44 yards.
Addison’s defensive leaders were Nelson Hernandez with six tackles, Luke Chambers, Jeb Robinson and Justin Mather with five tackles each. Nelson Martin had four tackles. Robinson recorded the Dawgs’ only sack.
North Sand Mountain was led by Landon Green who carried the ball 12 times for 78 yards and three scores. Damon Gentle had eight carries for 55 yards. Gentle also caught four passes for 43 yards. Lake Bell had five catches for 53 yards. Jayden Culpepper two catches for 35 yards.
Big plays may have finished off the Bulldogs’ 2019 season, but these boys played hard all year and have nothing to be ashamed of. Good luck in the future to the seniors and remember, Roll Addi Roll!
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