The opening round of the 2017 Class 3A-I, Region III playoffs began Friday as the District 12-3A champion Hitchcock Bulldogs traveled to Waller ISD Stadium to challenge the District 11-3A fourth-seeded Trinity Tigers, with the Bulldogs prevailing, 34-22.
The Tigers began the game on offense, and the Bulldogs’ defense forced a failed fourth down attempt, setting up the Bulldogs’ offense with the ball on their own 48-yard line.
The Bulldogs quickly drove the ball down the field capping off an opening-possession scoring drive with a 1-yard run by quarterback Pacey Jones. The extra point attempt failed giving the early lead to the Bulldogs 6-0 with 7:29 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Tigers wasted no time in taking the lead with a 56-yard drive into the end zone. Adding the extra point kick, the Tigers took the lead, 7-6, with 3:26 remaining in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs took their next possession at the 37, and on third down, Jones connected with Durrance Barnes for a 50-yard touchdown pass. The 2-point try was converted, giving the Bulldogs a 14-7 lead over the Tigers with 1:03 left in the first quarter. The Tigers took the ball on their own 32, but a forced fumble gave the ball back to the Bulldogs at the Tigers’ 19.
The second quarter opened with an 8-yard run by Tygar Turner for the touchdown. Adding the 2-point try the Bulldogs increased their lead to 22-7 early in the second quarter.
Both defenses tightened for much of the rest of the quarter until Jones broke through the Tigers’ defense for a 39-yard touchdown run. The failed 2-point try brought the score to 28-7 with 3:53 remaining in the half.
The Tigers’ offense was able to get the ball back with less than a minute remaining in the half. As time expired the Tigers connected on a 45-yard touchdown pass, and with the good extra point kick, the first half ended with the Bulldogs leading the Tigers, 28-14.
The Bulldogs received the kick to begin the third quarter, and the Tigers stopped them on fourth down, giving the ball back to the Tigers. The Tigers’ offense was unable to move the ball against the Bulldogs’ defense and were forced to punt.
Through the remainder of the third quarter and most of the fourth, neither offense was able to get on track.
After a punt pinned the Tigers on their own 10-yard line, Deonza McCardell intercepted and errant Tiger pass, returning it to the Tiger 5, setting up the Bulldog offense first-and-goal. Jones was able to score from the 1. The 2-point attempt failed, giving the Bulldogs a late lead of 34-14 with 3:42 remaining in the game.
The Tigers’ offense got the ball back and quickly marched down the field for a touchdown. Adding the 2-point attempt, the Tigers cut into the Bulldogs’ lead 34-22. The Tigers attempted an onside kick, but the Bulldogs were able to recover.
After the game, Bulldogs coach Cody Carney commended the Tigers and coach Eric Droddy on a well-prepared and hard-fought game. Carney said he was very proud of his team, as they overcame injuries and less-than-stellar practices through the week.
Practices and preparation must improve next week as the Bulldogs face the West Trojans, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cub Stadium in Brenham.