After sitting out two games with an injury, Bulldog running back Dee Bowler led his ‘Dawgs into the Division 1A playoffs with a convincing win over Sunrise Mountain High School Miners 41-21 in the ‘Dawg Pound Friday night. The win gave the Bulldogs a 5-5 season record and added another game on the schedule for the seniors and underclassman. The ‘Dawgs will face Cheyenne High School next Thursday in Las Vegas.
The Bulldogs didn’t waste any time Friday night as they took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards for the game’s first touchdown. Quarterback Garrett Leavitt and running back Dallen Carnesecca had long runs of 22 yards each to highlight the drive. Bowler took it the rest of the way for his first T.D. of the night. Junior Paongo added the point after giving the ‘Dawgs a 7-0 lead. The drive consumed four minutes of play. The Miners began their first drive of the night on their 37 yard line as the Bulldogs attempt to recover an onside kick failed. Two plays later it was Bulldog ball, as ‘Dawg Cristian Aguirre fell on a Miners fumble giving the ‘Dawgs a first and ten from the Miners 48 yard line. Leavitt’s threw an incomplete pass to begin the drive. Nine running plays later it was 13-0 with Bowler finishing the march with a T.D. run from the two yard line. Paongo added the P.A.T. upping the Bulldog lead to 14-0. Bowler had six touches during the drive for the ‘Dawgs. The Bulldogs held the Miners on their next possession and began their third drive from their own 30 yard line with 53 seconds remaining in the first period. Leavitt hit Dillon Graves for eight yards to the 38 yard line as the gun sounded to end the period with ‘Dawgs up 14-0.
Leavitt fumbled the handoff on the first play of the second period giving the Miners new life on the Bulldogs 33 yard line. Miners Q.B. Damon Heard didn’t waste any time moving the Miners as he ran a keeper around end to the 18 yard line. A horse collar tackle penalty on the play moved the ball to the ‘Dawgs 7 yard line. Running back Sherman Nash moved the ball into the end zone. The P.A.T. was successful cutting the Bulldogs lead to 14-7. Not to be outdone, Carnesseca took the kickoff on his own 12 yard line and scooted up field for 33 yards and a Bulldog first down on their 45 yard line. Five plays later, Graves had six points on a pass from Leavitt of 20 yards for the score. Paonga added the P.A.T. increasing the ‘Dawgs lead to 21-7. The Bulldogs held the Miners on their next possession forcing the Miners to punt. Attempting to surprise the Miners, Leavitt’s pass from his 10 yard line was intercepted on the twenty giving the Miners new hope. The hope was short lived as a long snap set the Miners back 17 yards to their 35 yard line. A 14 yard completion set up a Miners field goal attempt that soared wide. The Bulldogs had the ball back on their 20 yard line with a little over three minutes remaining in the half. The Bulldogs drove methodically down the field led by their running attack and a huge catch for 37 yards by Aguirre to the Miners 15 yard line. Leavitt was sacked for a two yard loss before Bowler ripped off nine yards to the Miners eight yard line with 19 seconds remaining in the half. Bulldog Coach Chris Sawyers called time out to steady his troops. Leavitt attempted to score on a keeper and was dropped on the Miners four with 10 seconds remaining. A penalty moved the ball back to the 15 yard line. Bowler picked up five yards as the half ended with the Bulldogs up 21-7.
The second half kickoff went out of bounds giving the Miners a first down on their own 35 yard line. The Miners were facing a fourth down and four yards for a first down and decided to go for it. They fell two yards short giving the Bulldogs good field position on the 42 yard line. After being stopped for a one yard loss, Bowler took it to the house for his third T.D. of the game. The 43 yard run was a thing of beauty as Bowler weaved between defenders to the end zone, Paongo’s P.A.T attempt was blocked by the Miners keeping the score at 27-7. Nash took the ‘Dawgs kickoff on his 15 yard line and ran it up field to his 39 yard line. The Bulldogs held and forced a punt which ended up on the ‘Dawgs 26 yard line. The ‘Dawgs drove 74 yards for the score. Bowler had five carries on the drive including the last 13 yards for the T.D. Leavitt had two pass completions on the drive. P.A.T. holder picked up the bad snap and tossed a two point conversion to Graves making the score 35-7 in favor of the ‘Dawgs. Nash took the Bulldog kickoff on his 20 yard line and ended on the Miners 40 yard line. Three running plays by Nash gave the Miners a first and goal from the ‘Dawgs four yard line. A penalty moved the ball back to the 14 yard line where the Miners Q.B. Heard hit receiver A’Keem Ross for a T.D. The P.A.T. was good cutting the Bulldog lead to 35-14. An onside kick by the Miners was recovered by Tanner Kilmer for the Bulldogs on the 39 yard line with 1:40 minutes remaining in the third period. Leavitt hit Graves for a first down but a chop block penalty on the Bulldogs moved the ball back to the ‘Dawgs 25 yard line. Leavitt hit Carnesecca for 20 yards to the 45 yard line. The Bulldogs had two runs for no gain as the third period clock ran out.
Leavitt hit Aguirre for 17 yards and a first down on the Miners 38 yard line. Six consecutive running plays by Leavitt and Bowler, the last a seven yard jaunt by Bowler for his fifth and last T.D. of the game. The P.A.T. was no good making the score 41-14 in favor of the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs kickoff went out of bounds giving the Miners good field position on their 35 yard nine minutes remaining in the game. The Bulldogs held the Miners to four and out giving the ‘Dawgs a first down on the Miners 42 yard line. The Bulldogs mounted a six minute drive led by bull rushes from substitute running back Paongo. The ‘Dawgs, were held on the 16 yard line, by the Miners, with 1:38 minutes remaining in the game. It took Miners running back Nash 13 seconds to go 84 yards and a T.D. The P.A.T. was good making the final score 41-21 in favor of the host Bulldogs. The Bulldogs rushed for over 300 yards in the game led by Bowler’s 227 yards. “It’s always nice to be healthy, we had to build confidence in our quarterback going into the playoffs, “said Coach Sawyers. We moved guys around for the game and the improvement showed. Having Dee and Henderson back really helped. Braden Lee had a good game. We had no fight last week but our defense played well tonight,” added Sawyers.