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Late rally brings Bulldoggs a win

POSTED: August 16, 2014 10:00 a.m.
Adam Wynn/Barrow County News

Coach Heath Webb lines up across from his team during a Thursday afternoon practice. The Doggs ran through pregame ritual in preparation.

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CUMMING-- While the summer heat still lingers, the calendar is beginning to edge ever closer to the end of August and the start of the football season. Winder-Barrow took a big step forward towards their season opener with a 29-28 win over South Forsyth in their final scrimmage of the pre-season Friday night. 

“We know that this doesn’t count in the record books,” Winder’s first-year head coach Heath Webb said.”We made so many mistakes and we still have so much to work on. But for this program, which has won six games in six years, this is big for us.” 

South Forsyth held a 28-21 advantage after three quarters when both teams replaced their varsity players with JV players. With just over a minute remaining, sophomore quarterback Will Sorrells hit sophomore wide receiver Deon Williams on a simple two-yard bubble screen. Williams would take it 59 yards to the house and sophomore running back Javonne Hughes took a swing pass in for a 2-point conversion to give Winder their first lead of the game. A sack by Antonio Trimble on the War Eagles’ next possession would seal the win for the Bulldogs. 

“That was really cool for the young guys to go out and win the game for us like that,” Webb said. “For three sophomores to finish the game out tells you that the future is bright here.”

Winder’s varsity squad likely played well enough at times to win on their own, but crucial penalties kept the Bulldoggs from being able to fully seize the game. Winder committed seven penalties in the first half totaling 40 yards. Three of those penalties were encroachment calls that kept South Forsyth’s opening drive alive, and running back Tyler LaFlamme was eventually able to punch it in from one yard out to put the War Eagles on top.

After the Bulldoggs failed to get anything going on their first possession, Anthony Gates made a big play for the defense and jumped on a bobbled handoff to give Winder back possession. That is when running back CeCe Green started going to work as he ground out yardage down the field, setting up a 14 yard touchdown pass from Ryan Evans to Brandon Hayes to tie the game at seven. Green had 48 yards on eight carries in the first quarter alone. 

On the ensuing South Forsyth possession, it looked as though the Bulldoggs might have seized control of the game as Santiago Carter scooped up a loose ball and took it to the house for a touchdown. However, a defensive holding penalty away from the play wiped out the return and LaFlamme would go on to score from seven yards out to give South Forsyth a 14-7 lead. 

“Mistakes are going to happen,” Webb said. “Whether it be bad play calls or penalties or bad calls by the refs, you can’t let things like that get to you. I am proud of the way we kept fighting and overcame those missed opportunities.” 

When the next Winder drive stalled, Jeremy Ramsey had a tremendous 52 yard punt which pinned the War Eagles back on their own five yard line. But a long run by LaFlamme and a 50 yard completion from Matthew White to Jalen Camp put the Bulldoggs on their heels, and LaFlamme would capitalize for his third score of the game, this time from 11 yards. That score would give the War Eagles a 21-7 lead at the half. 

Winder came out swinging in the third quarter, however. Utilizing a hurry-up offense with a heavy of dose of read option, the Bulldoggs were able to march into War Eagle territory. After the drive stalled, Winder faced a 4th and long, but a 16 yard run by quarterback Noah Chapman kept the drive alive. Chapman then found Green for a seven yard touchdown pass to make the score 21-14. 

On the next drive, Jamaul Cox made a tremendous interception and it appeared the Bulldoggs had seized the momentum entirely. Evans would keep things rolling with a 24 yard completion to Hayes, but that would be wiped out by a holding penalty that took Winder all the way back to their own nine yard line and, eventually, the Bulldoggs would have to punt. South Forsyth was able to take advantage and running back Grant Umberger scored from four yards on the next drive out to make the score 28-14. 

Chapman really found a rhythm on his final drive of the night going four-for-four for 41 yards and capping it off with a 13 yard touchdown pass to Jay Branch that cut the lead back to 28-21. Chapman finished the game nine-for-15 for 61 yards and two touchdowns. He is still competing for the starting quarterback job with Ryan Evans, who was three-for-nine for 31 yards and a touchdown. 

“Those two are still so close,” Webb said. “Without looking at the film it would be hard to say if one separated themselves. They both did some things very well.” 

Green was the workhorse for the Bulldoggs all night. In three quarters, he racked up 130 yards on 19 carries. 

“For us to run the ball as well as we did tonight against a AAAAAA team that won seven games last year is really impressive,” Webb said. “CeCe is going to have a monster year for us.” 

Hayes led the Bulldoggs’ varsity receiving corps with three catches for 31 yards and a touchdown. Branch had three catches for 18 yards and a touchdown, while Green added three catches as well for 14 yards and a touchdown. Bradyn Randall had two catches for 16 yards. Sorrells was 4-of-5 for 102 yards and a touchdown with the JV offense. Defensively, Winder was led by Joey Junius who racked up eight tackles in three quarters. In addition to recovering the fumble, Gates also recorded a sack on the night. 

Winder will open its season August 29th at home against Jefferson. 

 

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