Knights nip Bulldogs
THERE IT GOES West Lauderdale quarterback Michael Pogue flips the ball away as he is being chased down by Clarkdale's Alvin Moffite. Pogue was called for an illegal forward pass on the play, because he was ruled beyond the line of scrimmage. West Lauderdale took a 19-7 win in the season opener for both teams. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Austin Bishop / EMG regional sports director
Aug. 29, 2003
It wasn't fancy, but it was a win. And West Lauderdale head football coach Stan McCain was proud to get it.
The homestanding Knights took advantage of early mistakes by the Clarkdale Bulldogs to take a 19-7 season-opening win in non-division action before a nice crowd on Thursday night.
All three of West Lauderdale's first-half touchdowns came after they got the ball on the Clarkdale side of the 50-yard line. And while the offense was taking advantage of good field position, the Knights defense was stopping Clarkdale cold, holding the Bulldogs to just one first down and six yards of rushing in the first half.
But what looked like a blowout early as West Lauderdale built a 19-0 lead, turned into a tight ballgame.
Lee was also pleased with the way his team refused to give up after falling behind early.
West Lauderdale, which squandered an early opportunity when a fumble deep in Clarkdale territory resulted in a missed field goal from 29-yards out, got its first points thanks to another Bulldog miscue.
West's Eric Smith picked off a Clarkdale pass and two plays later fullback Scott Truesdale blasted up the middle and into the endzone from 11-yards out to put the Knights on top. The kick by Michael Pogue put WL up 7-0 with 8:26 to play in the first quarter.
Two Clarkdale possessions later, a high snap forced the Bulldog punter to try to run for the first down, but he was stopped short. West took over on the Clarkdale 41 and scored six plays later on a 15-yard run by Josh Hanible with 1:24 left in the quarter. The kick was wide, leaving WL with a 13-0 advantage.
On Clarkdale's next punting attempt, the snap was low, again causing the punter to try and run for the first down. Again he was stopped short, with the Knights taking over at the CHS 49.
West Lauderdale then put together an impressive 11-play drive that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown run by Pogue with 5:21 left in the half. The conversion failed, giving the Knights a 19-0 advantage.
It looked as if the Knights were going to put the game away when they opened the second half with a drive that began at their own 22 and moved all the way down to the Clarkdale 12. But a pair of penalties resulted in West attempting a 40-yard field goal that fell short.
Clarkdale scored its lone touchdown five plays later when sophomore quarterback Blake Johnson hit a wide-open Quinton Walker, who had broken free behind the WL secondary, for a 71-yard touchdown pass. The kick by Jake Gray cut the West lead to 19-7.
Clarkdale would challenge the WL defense through the air for the rest of the game, but when the Knights got the ball they were able to run time off the clock with a pounding running game.
West Lauderdale rushed for 268 yards on 49 carries on the night, with Truesdale leading the way with 97 yards on 18 attempts. Dameon Baylor had 14 carries for 68 yards and Hanible picked up 51 yards on seven attempts.
Clarkdale picked up just seven yards rushing on the night as a team, but Johnson had a good passing night, hitting on 7-of-14 passes for 164 yards.
West Lauderdale hits the road to face Philadelphia next Friday night, while Clarkdale plays another Thursday night game when the Bulldogs host Enterprise.