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Monster 1st half leads ‘Dawgs past Richland in 5-A clash

Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2023 at 11:37 am

Post Photo by Dennis Holley
The game ball is delivered in style prior to kickoff between Cornersville and Richland on Friday night

By Dennis Holley
Sports Writer
LYNVILLE — As the crow flies, Cornersville High School and Richland High School are approximately 12 miles apart and is a part of the intense rivalry that exists between the two schools.
The Cornersville Bulldogs (2-2, 0-1) traveled the route that this rivalry is named after ‘Buford Station Road’ to take on the Richland Raiders (2-2, 1-0) at Wayne Hobbs Stadium on Friday night.
Senior Ben Franklin rushed for 281 yards and Cornersville‘s swarming defensive play enabled the Bulldogs to come away with a 62-28 victory to even their Region 5-1A record at 1-1.
The Bulldogs exploded late in the first quarter for three touchdowns off three Raider turnovers that turned a 7-7 tie into a commanding 28-7 lead.
On the game’s opening drive, junior Austin Cooper, an emerging force at running back for the Bulldogs, took a first-down hand-off for a short gain.
Franklin bruised his way for four yards bringing up third down and five where a Blaine Woodard pass to Trenton Walker went for a gain of 35 yards and a first down at the Richland 40-yard line.
Franklin fought, dragged, and ran over Richland defenders for 15 yards and a first down, then a personnel foul on Richland moved the ball to the 5-yard line where Franklin burst off the left side for the touchdown.
Joseth Palma booted the kick after and with 8:28 left in the first quarter, Cornersville led 7-0.
Cornersville kicked off for the first Richland possession and the Raiders, mixing passes and runs, moved the ball down field where from the 2-yard line Luke Eslick barged over for the touchdown and Trimble booted the PAT to tie the score at 7-7 with 4:59 left in the first quarter.
Then began a series of plays that vaulted the Bulldogs into a lead that they would not relinquish.
A kick-off from Richland rolled out of bounds and the Bulldogs took over at their own 35-yard line. On first down Cooper took a handoff, made the corner on the right side, and set sail down the sidelines to score on a 65-yard run, with Palma again booting the extra point at the 4:46 mark the Bulldogs led 14-7.
With Franklin leading the way on defense, the Bulldogs forced a fumble that linebacker Austin King picked up and rambled for a 20-yard touchd

Post File Photo by Chris Siers
Cornersville quarterback Blaine Woodard scored on a 53-yard jaunt in the second quarter.

own and again Palma kicked the PAT and with 3:07 left in the first quarter the Bulldogs now led 21-7.
Still stinging from two quick Bulldog scores, the Raiders attempted a screen pass from their own 26-yard line that defensive back Woodard intercepted and returned to the Richland 5-yard line, where on second down Wesley Pigg charged over the right side for the touchdown.
Palma made good on the kick after and with 2:16 left in the first quarter Cornersville led 28-7.
The Bulldogs surged ahead to a three-touchdown lead in the span of 2:30 and six plays had.
The second quarter saw Richland on a fourth and nine score on a pass from Richland quarterback Bryce Miller to Jayden Pryor for a 22-yard touchdown. Trimble kicked the PAT and the Raiders at the 11:06 mark of the second quarter now trailed 28-14.
The Bulldogs were held on their next series and punted, the ball rolled dead at the Richland 47-yard line but the Raiders were stymied on a fourth down incompletion and the Bulldogs toke over where Franklin took the Woodard hand-off, broke through the Raider line, and outran the Raider defenders for a 52-yard touchdown run, Palma again booted  the PAT and with 8:11 until halftime the Bulldogs upped their lead to 21 points, 35-14.
The Raiders on their next possession seemed to be on their way to closing the point gap but a Raider fumble was recovered at the Bulldog 16-yard line by Cornersville defensive lineman Landon Mitchell.
Franklin shook loose on first down, this time for a 37-yard gain to the Richland 47-yard line.
Woodard then rolled to his right cut, up field and raced untouched to the end zone, Palma again kicked the PAT and the Bulldogs with 5:58 until halftime led 42-14.
After forcing a punt a punt that rolled into the end zone, Cooper and Franklin moved the ball to the Raider 47-yard line.
Franklin burst through the Raider line for a 47-yard touchdown, Palma kicked the Pat and with 3:31 left in the third quarter Cornersville led, 49-14.
With a running clock, Richland received the kickoff and Jake Sands on first down from the mid-field stripe caught a swing pass from Blane Woodard zigged and zagged for a touchdown, Trimble kicked the PAT and with 2:23 left in the third quarter Cornersville led, 49-21.
Cornersville moved the ball to the Raider twenty-yard line where on first down on a miss-direction hand off, Cooper swept around the right side for a touchdown, Palma converted and with 18 seconds left in the third quarter, Cornersville led, 56-21.
Richland on a seven-play drive scored to make the score 56-28, but after a Cornersville fumble Cornersville safety Hunter Uland intercepted a Richland pass at the 12-yard line and on first down Franklin got loose one more time as he outran the Raider defense for an 88-yard touchdown, this time Palma’s PAT was wide right, and the Bulldogs led 62-28.
Franklin said when he was asked which he liked playing tonight, defense or running the ball said, “Defense. I like hitting the quarterback. Our DB’s (defensive backs) were locked in tonight.”
Uland would intercept his second fourth quarter pass to thwart another Richland drive and the clock ran out with Cornersville gaining their first Region 5-1A win, 62-28.
Hunter Uland said about his two interceptions, “As soon as I saw them in the air I knew I could pick them.”
Quarterback Blaine Woodard said when asked which he preferred offense or defense, he didn’t hesitate, “Defense” but also added, “We put in the work each and every week to be better each game.”
Coach Elliot Cook said after the game” A great team win, a great team win. We challenged our offensive line to step it up because we (coaches) know they are capable of being a good line. We knew that they like to throw the ball around so we challenged our defensive backs, told them they will be coming for you. Everybody was locked in. Just a great team win.”
Next Friday night the Bulldogs host Moore County in an important Region 5-1A contest.

Cornersville       28  14  14  6 — 62
Richland              7   7    7   7 — 28

First Quarter
C — Ben Franklin 5 run, (Joself Palma kick), 8:28.
R — Luke Eslick 2 run, (Colton Trimble kick), 4:59.
C — Austin Cooper 65 run, (Palma kick), 4:46.
C — Austin King 27-yard fumble recovery, (Palma kick), 3:07.
C — Wesley Pigg 5 run, (Palma kick), 2:16.

Second Quarter:
R — Jayden Pryor 22 pass from Bryce Miller, (Trimble kick), 11:06.
C — Franklin 52 run, (Palma kick), 8:23.
C — Blaine Woodard 53 run, (Palma kick), 5:58.

Third Quarter:
C — Franklin 47 run, (Palma kick), 3:31.
R —Jake Sands 50 pass from Miller, (Trimble kick), 2:23.
C —Cooper 20 run, (Palma kick), 0:18

Fourth Quarter:
R — Eslick 3 run, (Trimble kick), 6:07.
C — Franklin 88 run, (kick failed), 4:26.