Dawgs continue quest for crown
Just dig in and hang around.
With their offense not up to par, the Thorndale Bulldogs showed a lot of that resolve Friday evening, edging Ganado 21-17 at Rutledge Stadium in a Class A, Division I, Region IV regional contest.
The Bulldogs (9-2) will now face Shiner (9-3) in the state quarterfinals at Bob Shelton Stadium Friday in Mountain City at 7:30 p.m. (see below).
It marks Thorndale’s first trip to the quarterfinals since 2006 when the Bulldogs lost to Chilton.
They are two games away from playing for their fourth state championship crown.
Shiner blanked Flatonia 35-0 in its regional test, a team that tied Thorndale for first place in District 13A.
The victor will face the Bosqueville (10-3)-Mart (9-3) winner in the state semifinals next week.
The quick-start Bulldogs found themselves in an unusual position Friday evening—trailing at halftime, 17-7.
While t he of fense pushed ahead, the defense kept Ganado out of the end zone in the second half.
“ Our defense made great adjustments at the half,” said Thorndale Coach Brent Brevard. “They moved the ball on us in the first half, but they struggled to find any rhythm the second half.”
Thorndale forced a fumble on a punt with two minutes left before halftime and went in and scored with 25 seconds left to close the gap to 17-14.
“That was big,” said Brevard. “Otherwise, we’re down 10 at half.”
The Bulldogs—who have won nine of their last 10—were still without the services of leading rusher Darius Brooks on offense for the second consecutive game and struggled, scrapping together a season-low 197 total yards with 160 of that coming from quarterback Riley Schaefer.
In the absence of Brooks, who has a deep thigh bruise, Schaefer scattered for 63 yards and threw for 97 yards—a season low—on nine completions
His 16-yard scamper midway through the third quarter handed the Bulldogs the lead for good, 21-17.
“They dropped eight (players) on passing downs, and we had not seen that from them in all the film we had on them,” Brevard said. “That hurt us some, but we did run the ball better the second half and got the go ahead touchdown in the third quarter.
Brooks did play the entire game at his defensive end position.
Rowdy McCoy scored twice, opening the contest with a oneyard dip after a 50-yard drive and then the crucial score before halftime.
Ganado (9-3) tried to push the Bulldogs around with its clock-killing, ground chewing attack, but were able to churn up just 210 yards on 54 attempts, under four yards per carry.
Shiner (9-3) finished second in District 15A to the team Thorndale just defeated, Ganado.
The Comanches, a 12-2 semifinalist last season, proved they are a team to be reckoned with, knocking Mason out of the playoffs in the area round with a 14-13 win.
Mason ended Thorndale’s playoff road last year at the regional round.
In their 35-0 blanking of Flatonia, the Comanches limited the Bulldogs to 92 yards on offense.
Shiner, which has won four straight, led just 7-0 at halftime, but erupted for 28 points in the second half with running back Marcus Coleman scoring three times, while picking up 98 of the Comanches 246 rushing yards.
Quarterback Jacob Stafford ran for 66 yards and completed two passes for 46 yards.
At 6-feet tall and 210 pounds, Stafford is a handful at quarterback and is the district most valuable player at middle linebacker.
The last two times these two teams met was in the playoffs in 2002, Thorndale prevailed 47-27 in the regional round.
The series is tied 1-1-1.