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Southeast Lauderdale picks up
first win of 03 football season

By Staff
FINDING SOME ROOM Clarkdale's Cedric Burns tries to glide his way past Southeast Lauderdale's Raymond Ruffin on Thursday night. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian star
By Robby Atkinson / staff writer
Sept. 12, 2003
Getting that first win takes some of the load off of any football team.
On Thursday night the Southeast Lauderdale Tigers tasted victory for the first time this season by taking a 25-0 shutout win over the Clarkdale Bulldogs. The Tigers improved to 1-2 with the win and head coach Dwane Taylor said the win came at the right time.
"We needed this win bad and it feels great just to get a win at home in front of our fans," Taylor said. "I am very proud of the way our kids showed up and played. Also I think that we got better between our second game and tonight as far as preparation."
Clarkdale opened the game after taking a short kickoff to the 20-yard line to open its first drive. The drive stalled after the Bulldogs failed on fourth down and the Tigers retained possession at the Clarkdale 45. Southeast used 10 rushing plays to enter the end zone for the first time and take the quick lead over the visiting Bulldogs.
The drive was capped off by a four-yard rushing touchdown by Kwamel O'Neal. Drew Harper added the extra point to make the score 7-0 with 3:30 left in the first quarter. Clarkdale opened up the rushing attack to close the first quarter and the scheme proved successful. The Southeast defense would answer the call and stop the Bulldogs dead in its tracks and force a punt.
Southeast took the ball on offense and was guilty of three penalties to push the offense back to its own 10-yard line. Clarkdale went to work on offense, but fell short of the goal line at a chance to possibly tie the game at the end of the quarter. The Bulldogs were two yards short of the goal on a sweep around the right end by Cedric Burns and the Tigers held on to the 7-0 lead at the break.
"That was a big turning point in the game for our defense and I was very pleased with the way our guys played on that possession," Taylor added.
Southeast took control of the game in the third quarter and took advantage of several Clarkdale miscues. Southeast opened the second half by going three-and-out on offense, but would take the ball back on a turnover. Clarkdale turned the ball over on a fumble during the punt return and Southeast produced points. Marcus Walker scored a touchdown after the turnover from 17 yards to extend the lead to 13-0 with 7:13 remaining in the third quarter.
The next Southeast score would prove to be the most unusual touchdown of the season thus far. The Tigers were attempting a 37-yard field goal. The snap was bad, but the play produced a touchdown. The holder, Alex West, retained possession and threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to the kicker Harper to bring the score to 19-0 with 2:57 left in the third.
After a busy week of preparation, Clarkdale head coach Joey Etheridge had many positive things to say about his group of Bulldogs."I explained to our guys that we had two days of practice and it was almost like starting over, but I thought that the effort was great. We just need to get our head up because our first district game is in two weeks and hopefully we will be hitting on all cylinders by that point.
"I was just overly proud of the effort for the most part."
The Tigers added its final score of the night on a 24-yard touchdown run by Joel Ruffin to end the scoring.
Southeast returns to action next Friday night with a road game at Forest, while Clarkdale will be celebrating homecoming against Mercy Cross of Biloxi.