Bulldogs’ season on the line in showdown with Carlisle
Loss to Des Arc leaves Earle on the bubble in 2A playoffs
Earle Bulldogs were blown out at home by Des Arc 60-6 on Friday and their season could be in jeopardy unless they can find a middle linebacker to make stopping plays.
The Eagles ran all over Earle (5-3, 3-2) the entire night, scoring on five of their first six possessions to take a commanding 46-6 lead at halftime.
Head Coach Albert Coleman said the loss of middle linebacker Steve Smith to an ankle injury has left the team without their big playmaker.
“Losing Steve at middle linebacker and the heart of the team has been hard,” Coleman said. “Steve was making plays for us in the middle, on the edge and on the outside and we are just missing that. We can’t seem to find anyone who can replace him.”
Smith injured his ankle in the gym playing basketball and it is unknown whether he will be out for the season.
“It could possibly be broken,” Coleman said.
“We could lose him for the season.”
With a depleted line unable to stop the run, Des Arc took an early 6-0 lead on a 14-yard run by Eagles quarterback Luke Morton then scored again on an 18-yard by C.J. Conway to make it 14-0.
Des Arc threatened again but turned the ball over on downs on a 4th and 2 on the 6-yard line.
The Bulldogs got on the board on a 94 yard-pass by quarterback Nicholas Mathis to LeAndrew Milow with 4:19 to play in the first quarter, but Mathis was stopped on a two-point conversion attempt to make it 14-6.
That was the closest Earle would get all night. It was all Des Arc the rest of the way. The Eagles added four more touchdowns in the second to make it 46-6 at the half.
The Bulldogs came out flat again in the second half, allowing Des Arc to score a touchdown in the third and one in the fourth to seal the 60-6 blowout in front of a stunned home crowd.
Coleman said he was disappointed that his starters gave up, but proud of the freshmen who came in to play the rest of the game.
“We’ve just got to play ball,” Coleman said. “I told them at halftime they had to man up. We knew they were going to run the ball.
We worked on that. We had a chance to score toward the end and they were just walking. It’s important to put up more points to show that you can. And they didn’t. The only thing I am mad at is that mentally we gave up. That’s the main thing. We gave up early and you can’t quit.”
Despite back-to-back losses – Earle was shut out last week 40-0 on the road by Hazen – Coleman said the team can secure the third seed this week with a win at home against Carlisle.
A loss would still get the Bulldogs the fourth seed.
“It’s not bad,” Coleman said. “There is still a lot of football to play. We are guaranteed that one game.
I’ve been the five seed before and made it to the state semis as the five seed. But it is a must-win here at home on Friday.”
Coleman said he hopes to find a solution to his middle linebacker woes in time for the game against Carlisle on Friday.
“We have to find a middle linebacker,” Coleman said. “If we can’t find one, our season is done and we know that. We’ve been looking and looking and at this point we just don’t. It hurts.”