Haxtun Bulldogs pick up win at home over DCA on Friday night
October 21, 2020
The Bulldogs picked up the win in an 8-man Plains conference battle with Dayspring Christian Academy in Haxtun at Adam Wernsman Field on Friday night. The win puts the Bulldogs at 1-1 on the season as the team prepares to face off with the defending five-time State champion Sedgwick County Cougar squad this week.
The Bulldogs received the kick-off on their own turf in the 2020 home opener and made a statement from the start. Michael Gerk found an open gap for his first of several rushing touchdowns in the contest as he put the Bulldogs on the board with six in their first possession of the game. Haxtun attempted the two-point conversion but fell short. The Eagles drove deep into Bulldog territory in their next possession but Haxtun's David Avery landed on an Eagle fumble to give the home team the ball back. The excitement didn't last long though as the Bulldogs turned the ball back over, giving Dayspring Christian a quick pick six to put the visiting team on the scoreboard. Despite a penalty pushing the Eagles back five yards on the two-point conversion, Dayspring Christian still found the end zone, giving the team a two-point lead. The Bulldogs drove down the field as the seconds ticked off the clock at the end of the first and after a long pass to Avery, the Bulldogs were in perfect scoring position for Gerk to add his second rushing TD of the quarter. Haxtun made good on their two-point conversion to regain the lead, 14-8.
The Eagles started the second quarter with ball and scored a short time later but the Bulldogs were amped to answer back. As the home-team drove to the north end zone, Gerk took his turn at the quarterback position, finding Avery open in the end zone with a 24-yard pass. With Knode back under center, the junior attempted a quarterback keeper for the two points after but couldn't get past the Eagle's defensive line. Two plays later, Gerk game up with a huge interception for the Bulldogs, who capitalized on the Eagle turnover several plays later with a five-yard run from Knode to give Haxtun a 26-16 lead at half time.
The visiting team received to start the second half and shortly after, found an opening for a 30-yard touchdown. The Bulldog defense held the Eagles out of the end zone on their conversion attempt to hold onto a four-point advantage. Haxtun gave the ball up on down in their first possession after the half, but would take the ball back in the same manner at the 30-yard line several plays later. A face mask call on the Eagles gave the Bulldogs a much-needed first down to keep their drive alive and in doing so, the Knode-Gerk duo struck again, this time with a 13-yard pass for another Haxtun touchdown. With under four minutes left to play, the Eagles added one more touchdown to the board before the end of the third quarter.
Knode came up big for the Bulldogs in the first play in the fourth quarter with a 32-yard touchdown run to give Haxtun the advantage as the clock ticked away. With just over eight minutes left to play, the Eagles found the end zone again after picking up a first down off a Haxtun penalty for roughing the passer. The Bulldog defense again came up big, picking off their two-point conversion attempt to hold onto the lead. Haxtun kept composure in the next drive, as the team leaned on running back Ozzy Coss for several, big fourth-down plays to keep the ball in the hands of the Bulldogs. Coss answered, completing three fourth down plays to keep Haxtun in control as the final buzzer sounded with the Bulldogs on top, 38-36.
The Bulldogs completed seven of 12 third down plays and went five-for-five on fourth downs in the conference win.
Knode completed six of nine passes for 88 yards. His go to receiver for the night, Gerk, caught three passes for 28 yards. Avery had 49 yards from two catches.
The Bulldogs dominated on the ground, putting up 267 rushing yards while holding the Eagles to just 140 in the contest. Coss led the Bulldogs with 113 rushing yards. Gerk followed with 78 on the ground.
On defense, Ryan Tempel led the Bulldogs with eight tackles, three solo and five assisted. Knode tallied seven followed by Kyle Fryrear and Avery, each with five.
The Bulldogs are set to host Sedgwick County on Friday night in a 7 p.m. match up. The Cougars are 2-0 this season with wins over McClave and Akron.