Bulldogs run away from Bears in second half
Earle had it’s way with Barton, ending the game on a 16- 3 run
The Earle Bulldogs (1-1 overall) earned their first victory of the season this past Friday, winning in front of their home fans in Earle with a 36-16 shellacking of the Barton Bears (1-1).
Much of the Bulldogs success last Friday rest on the shoulders and legs of first-year quarterback Tavarius Thomas who totaled four touchdowns on the evening, two through the air and two on the ground.
“T is turning out to be an unbelievable playmaker,” said Bulldogs head coach Albert Coleman. “He’s controlling the game, carrying out his fakes and making good decisions with the ball. He’s impressive on the field. He’s putting guys in the right spots. He’s turning out to be what we need on offense at quarterback.”
The speedy, 5-foot-6, 165pound Thomas immediately made his presence felt against the Bears when, on Earle’s opening drive, he took off on a 35-yard scamper which resulted in an early 6-0 lead for the Bulldogs.
“He’s using his instincts,” Coleman said. “If the pass isn’t there, he’s tucking it and running it. He’s making good reads and that’s impressive for a guy that’s never played quarterback to be able to make such good decisions so early.
That’s stuff that we expected him to do but we weren’t expecting it from him until later in the season.”
After the Bears scored later in the first quarter to take a brief 7-6 lead, Thomas showed off his arm, connecting with senior Alex Coleman for a touchdown and again for the two-point conversion, putting the Bulldogs up 14-7.
Thomas then hit running back Quinlan Allen for a 10-yard score, allowing Earle to take a 20-13 lead into the locker rooms at halftime.
That’s when the Bulldogs turned the game over to their workhorses, like linebackers Jalille George and Lakavion Price and fullsized running back Jaylon Coopwood (6-foot, 265pound).
George and Price led a Bulldogs defense which pitched a second-half shutout, allowing the Earle offense to gain some separation.
“Defensively, they came out and scored 13 on us in the first half and none in the second half,” Coleman said. “That’s mainly be cause of Jaille George.
He’s a constant go to as a stack backer but we’ve moved him to middle linebacker. Even though he’s only 5-foot-5 and 145pounds, he’s so fast to react and he’s the best sure tackler we have on our team. In the second quarter, we made him mirror the fullback and he met that fullback at the line of scrimmage constantly. That made a big different for us… Though Price didn’t’ start, with the rotation of people cramping up and having issues and stuff, we moved him to a stack backer and he probably had four tackles for a loss in the second half. He did a great job. He’s got to be constant in coming to practice and we’ll have us something because if they can’t score, they can’t win.”
For good measure, Thomas added a 62-yard touchdown run on a broken play in the third quarter to give the Bulldogs a 28-13 lead headed into the final frame. Then it was all Coopwood as the noseguard turned running back wore down an already tired Bears defense, resulting in an 11-yard touchdown run.
“That’s something that, towards the end of the game, no one really wants to see 265 pounds coming at you,” Coleman said. “It was evident that they didn’t want any part of that weight. He was running hard.”
Earle attempts to defend it’s home field again this Friday as the Bulldogs welcome the Cross County Thunderbirds (1-1).
Kickoff between the Bulldogs and Thunderbirds is set for 7 p.m.
By Collins Peeples