GLENVILLE, W.Va. — No team in the state allowed fewer points than Cameron in the regular season.
However, in Friday’s Class A quarterfinal at Glenville State’s Morris Stadium, it was the Doddridge County defense that made all the difference as the No. 4 Bulldogs blanked the No. 5 Dragons 27-0.
With the win, Doddridge County (12-0) advances to a semifinal next week at No. 1 Wheeling Central.
The Bulldogs controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball en route to the convincing victory against the Dragons, who finish the season 11-1.
“We just take pride in showing teams who’s boss up front,” offensive/defensive lineman Cole James said. “Our defensive backs really improved this year and we’ve gotten a lot better.”
Doddridge had a 71-yard opening drive, scoring a touchdown three minutes into the action on Tanner Lett’s 39-yard pass to Austin Kelley on fourth-and-11.
Bulldogs’ standout tailback Hunter America reeled off runs of 21 and 12 yards on the drive’s first two players, before the series appeared to stall. But Lett escaped the pocket on the fourth down play and delivered a strike to Kelley for what proved to be the only score of the opening half.
Cameron reached the Bulldogs’ 39-yard line on its opening series, but Jessop Broughton’s pass fell incomplete on fourth-and-12. The Bulldogs then got into the red zone on their second series before losing 36 yards on a high snap over Lett’s head that ultimately led to a punt.
After forcing a three-and-out and getting a 19-yard punt return from Griffin Devericks combined with a Dragons’ personal foul, Doddridge started at the Cameron 8-yard line 10:28 before halftime. America ran 7 yards to the Cameron 1, before a false start set Doddridge back. On the next play, Lett fumbled a snap that Cameron’s Aidan Lucey recovered at the Dragons’ 4.
Cameron marched 78 yards from there, but Broughton’s pass to Trin Scott on fourth-and-8 went for only 3 yards from the Bulldogs’ 18.
“I was disappointed in the first half with our fumbles and the penalties,” Doddridge County coach Bobby Burnside said. “It wasn’t a great feeling to be up by seven when we could have been up a couple more scores, but they’re a great team and they’re 11-0 for a reason.”
Facing the 7-0 deficit, the Dragons got the ball to start the second half. However, Lucey was sacked by Michael Childers on third-and-14 and the ball came loose, with James recovering at the Cameron 7.
Following consecutive Cameron offside penalties, Jordan Owens scored on a 1-yard run with 10:02 to play in the third quarter. The PAT was no good, leaving the Bulldogs with a 13-0 lead.
“The field position and turnovers were going to be huge and obviously we lost of those battles and that’s what happens against a good team that doesn’t make mistakes,” Cameron coach Scott Holt said. “At halftime, we felt like we were doing OK. We’re getting the ball down a possession and that’s fine.
“We’re not able to get the kickoff past the 20 and we have a fumble two plays later, and really that sealed the deal, because when you put a team that wants to run the ball in good field position like that, you’re going to have trouble — and we did.”
Doddridge freshman Jared Jones intercepted Lucey on the ensuing sequence, though the Bulldogs were unable to capitalize and punted it back to the Dragons.
From there, Cameron got into Bulldogs’ territory, but Broughton threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-2 at the Doddridge 44. Although the Bulldogs were unable to capitalize directly on good field position again, Lett continued to flip the field with his punting and hit one for 49 yards to the Dragons’ 6.
Fifteen seconds after regaining possession, Broughton had a pass intercepted by Devericks, who returned it 17 yards for a game-sealing touchdown at the 1:06 mark of the third quarter.
“The defensive line has been solid for us all year,” Burnside said. “We have defensive linemen with 50-plus tackles and I think you can see why. We do a great job mixing up our fronts and were able to use a front that was just really blowing their running game up and forcing them to throw probably more than they wanted to. That allowed us to change some coverages and get people in down and distance.”
The Bulldogs got their final touchdown with 7:44 to play after America rushed for 13 yards and fumbled inside the Cameron 5, with teammate Connor Cunningham recovering in the end zone. D.J. Devinney made his third PAT to make it 27-0.
Devinney then recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff as the Dragons’ night went from bad to worse.
Friday’s game was the first one this season that America didn’t score a touchdown in, though the junior was still stellar. He rushed for more than 200 yards in the win, including 146 in the first half.
“We’re a team. He has success, we have success,” James said. “It’s just what we do. We’ve grown up together, we love each other and we’re always there for each other.”