The Valdosta Daily Times
The Lanier Bulldogs fell to the Berrien Rebels 14-35 on Friday. The Bulldogs started off slow on both sides of the ball. The Rebels were able to methodically drive the ball down the field on their first two possessions scoring a touchdown on both. They were helped with a short field on their second possession after the Bulldogs fumbled and turned the ball over on their first kickoff.
It was looking like this game was going to run away from the Bulldogs, but they caught a couple lucky breaks. The first break came after recovering a fumble on a punt return. No points were scored on this turnover, however on the Rebels next drive they fumbled an option pitch that was recovered by the Bulldogs. This was converted into a touchdown six plays later by a 42 yard run by JT Williams. The rebels quickly answered back with a 61 yard touchdown pass moments before the half ended.
It was only downhill for the Bulldogs once the second half started. The Bulldogs first drive of the second half was a quick four and out. The first play of the following drive was a fumbled snap by quarterback Zares Kimbrough that was recovered by the Rebels. The next drive was an interception thrown by Kimbrough, who was just trying to make something happen at this point. Kimbrough finished the game five of twelve for 65 yards and 17 run attempts for 46 yards.
With just under two minutes left JT Williams broke through the middle again for a 37 yard gain. This was immediately followed by a short pass to Demetrius Williams that went 41 yards for a touchdown. Before this drive the Bulldogs only had 17 yards of total offense in the second half. Even though they had 214 yards total offense in the game, over 56 percent of those yards came from three big plays.
The play of the game came on a fourth and three from the Bulldogs own 24 yard line. Going against conventional wisdom, the Bulldogs decided to go for it even though there was 6 minutes left in the third and they were only down by 13. The play got blown up due to a missed block assignment. The Rebels scoring a touchdown four plays later did everything but put the nail in the coffin.
When I asked Coach Johnson if this call was a sign of a lack in trust in the defense he stated “It was not a lack in trust on the defense at all. I go with my gut and I felt like that was a play we needed to make to stay in the game.”
When I asked Coach Johnson how he felt about the overall performance of his team he stated “We had way too many turnovers and we were getting beat up front all night. We have a lot to work on and having next week off will only help us better ourselves. I have seen improvement throughout the last couple weeks.”