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The Carthage Bulldogs won their bi-district play-off game Thursday night at Bulldog stadium in Ja

By Rick McPherson
Jan. 10, 2018 at 9:29 a.m.


The Carthage Bulldogs won their bi-district play-off game Thursday night at Bulldog stadium in Jasper with a 46-10 victory over the Huffman-Hargrave Falcons. It was the eleventh straight bi-district win for head coach Scott Surratt with no losses.

For a time, it looked like the game might be more competitive than it proved to be. The Dawgs dominated statistically throughout, but they ended the first quarter with nothing to show for it but 6 points and a slim three-point lead.

The Bulldog lack of scoring results wasn't hard to understand. Early on the Bulldogs lost an onside kick, muffed a punt return, missed three extra-points, had one pass batted down and another intercepted, had a quarterback sack and failed to convert on two fourth downs.

In the end, none of that mattered. Partly it didn't matter because tailback Keaontay Ingram picked up 150 yards in the game on 18 carries and scored 3 first-half touchdowns.

Mostly it didn't matter because cornerback Jacorey Ware caught twice as many Hargrave passes as the Hargrave receivers. Ware had 4 interceptions and one touchdown. The Falcon receivers had an anemic two catches in the game. Neither one was for a TD.

The Falcons opened the game with an onside kick. They obviously knew they would have to take risks to have any chance against the heavily favored Bulldogs. This one paid off – at first anyway. They recovered the ball at the Carthage 49-yard line. But they followed it up with three incomplete passes and a punt that gave Carthage the ball at its own 15-yard line.

The Bulldogs drove down the field and eight plays later, they were at the Hargrave 2-yard line. With 8:59 left in the first quarter, Keaontay Ingram took it over for the touchdown. The extra point was wide left, and the score was 6-0.

After forcing a second punt, Carthage took over at the Bulldog 27. That drive ended when Hargrave intercepted a Gunner Capps pass.

The Carthage defense, which was completely dominant throughout the game, forced yet a third punt. But this time it touched Carthage return man Mehki Colbert, and the Falcons recovered at the Carthage 30. Aided by a 15-yard penalty, they managed to move the Ball to the Carthage 9-yard line and from there Jackson Landry kicked a field goal to make the score 6-3.

And that was the score at the end of the first quarter. Carthage scored again with 7:24 left in the second quarter. After a big 36-yard punt return by Deed Bowens, three straight carries by Keaontay Ingram – the last a pitchout that picked up 28 yards – put the Bulldogs in the end zone for their second touchdown of the night. The extra point kick was low and the score was 12-3.

Coming into the game, cornerback Jacorey Ware had 4 interceptions for the season. He got his fifth on the second play of the next Hargrave series, and returned it to the Hargrave 18. The Bulldogs failed to score, and the ball went over on downs at the 9-yard line.

After forcing another Hargrave punt, the Dawgs got the ball back at the Hargrave 47-yard line. The drive ended with a 1-yard Keaontay Ingram touchdown run. But the Bulldog extra-point woes continued. This time the problem was the snap. It was too high and the ball got away from holder Kaden Holcomb. Holcomb did well just to get on it and prevent a return.

Hargrave's next possession ended with Jacorey Ware's second interception of the game. Ware returned the ball to the Hargrave 17-yard line. From there it took a single play, a 17-yard pass from Gunner Capps to Dee Bowens, to get to the end zone. The Alberto Sigala extra point kick was good – drawing cheers from the Carthage fans – and the score was 25-3 with 1:48 left in the half.

But the Bulldogs, and more particularly Jacorey Ware, weren't through. With 1:22 left in the half picked Ware picked off a third Justin Shively pass, and this time he went in for the touchdown. Shively took a tremendous hit as he was throwing the ball. He was slow getting up and did not return to the game. The Bulldogs made their second extra point kick of the night and went to the locker room leading 32-3

With Shively out, senior Elliott Jameson came in at quarterback for the Falcons. Hargrave all but abandoned their ineffective passing game, but Jameson proved to be a competent runner. After taking the kickoff to open the second half, the Falcons drove 68 yards to the Carthage 2-yard line. Most of that came on a 53-yard quarterback keeper by Jameson. From the two he took it over for the only Hargrave touchdown of the night. The extra-point made the score 32-10.

Carthage scored again on its next possession. This time it was Mekhi Colbert who took the handoff and went 31 yards for the touchdown. The extra-point made it 39-10.

After three interceptions, one would think that the Falcons realized that Jacorey Ware owned the right side of the field and that they would look for someplace else to throw the ball. Apparently not. They threw his way yet again, and Ware came up with his fourth interception of the night. Gunner Capps followed it up with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Dee Bowen. The extra point was good, and the score was 46-10.

The Bulldogs brought up a lot of their freshman and JV players to give them some play-off experience. With the game out of reach and the clock running, Coach Scott Surratt tried to get as many as he could in the game. To their credit they did their job in the situation, which was to control the ball and run the clock. They picked up 52 yards of offense with 3 first downs. Defensively they had a quarterback sack, forced a three and out, and held Hargrave scoreless for the remainder of the game.

Dee Bowen was named the offensive player of the game by the Carthage coaching staff for his 7 receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns. Special-teams player of the game was Allen Campos. Playing on the kickoff team, Campos had three tackles. And of course Jacorey Ware was the defensive player of the game.

After missing its first two games of the year due to Hurricane Harvey, Hargrave finished its season with a 4-5 record. Carthage is now 11-0 on the year and moves on the area round of the playoffs where they will face the winner of tonight's game between Brazosport (7-3) and Worthing (4-3). That game will be played the at 6:00 p.m. next Friday at Texas Drive Stadium in New Caney.

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