The Dove Creek Bulldogs 8-man football playoff run ended in the second round with a 32-6 loss at Elbert Saturday.
Twenty-plus mph winds and injuries plagued Dove Creek High School in the battle of the Bulldogs.
A two-yard Chance Johnson touchdown run brought Dove Creek (6-4) within 8-6 in the second quarter. Johnsons score capped a 98-yard drive. But that would be as close as DCHS would get. Elbert (9-1) led 16-6 at halftime.
The first half was good. I felt we were right there. We played with them, DCHS coach Ken Soper said. Then, right at the beginning of the third quarter, injuries started hitting us.
Senior center/defensive end Seth Kelshaw left the game at the start of the third quarter because of a knee injury and did not return. Later in the third, starting quarterback/linebacker Dalton Randolph was injured and had to leave the game. Backup quarterback Dalton Davis moved over from wide receiver in takeover at quarterback.
When we get one guy hurt, we lose two positions, Soper said. Thats when things really kind of went downhill.
With Dove Creek shorthanded, the Elbert Bulldogs scored two touchdowns and two 2-point conversions to pull away, resulting in the final margin.
Randolph returned under center in the fourth quarter and led the Bulldogs on a drive to the 5-yard line, which setup first-and goal. But a bad snap over Randolphs head resulted in a 15-yard loss. Dove Creek eventually turned the possession over on downs.
Randolph was 11 of 24 for 126 yards with one interception in the game. Johnson was held to 64 yards rushing on 13 carries. Johnson, Davis and Tyler Ebberts led the Dove Creek defense with nine tackles apiece.
I thought our defense against the run was real good in the second half. We held them to 52 yards rushing in the second half, Soper said. The thing that really killed us was their passing. They scored four touchdowns and three of them was on passes.
The loss keeps Soper at 305 victories in his 47-year head coaching career. The all-time state record for football coaching victories is 306. Soper has been with Dove Creek for 50 years the first three as an assistant. His first win came in 1964.
Im proud of our kids. They had a good season this year, Soper said. I wish we could have went another week, but thats the way it goes. I could tell the kids really took it hard in the locker room after the game. The kids really hit hard.
Elbert moves on to play at unbeaten Simla (10-0) on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Western League champion Norwood (9-1) crushed Sangre de Cristo 53-0 last Saturday. The Mavericks will host Walsh (9-1) on Saturday at 1 p.m.
NOTES: All four of Dove Creeks losses this season came twice each to Elbert and Norwood.