Doddridge County looks to secure second straight 10-0 regular season

WEST UNION, W.Va. — Moments after watching his team improve to 9-0 with a 20-7 win at Williamstown, Doddridge County head coach Bobby Burnside discussed the joy of the Bulldogs beating the Yellowjackets a second straight season.

“It does mean a lot to beat a program as storied as Williamstown two years in a row,” Burnside said.

It was a very workmanlike and impressive win, with the Bulldogs getting a 40-carry, 245-yard effort from all-state tailback Hunter America, who reached the end zone twice.

DCHS, which faces Tygarts Valley (7-2) on Friday in the regular season finale, also continued to display at least the threat of a passing attack. Quarterback Noah Bumgardner finished 5-of-8 for 68 yards and a 19-yard touchdown to Hunter Jenkins.

Jenkins also had two interceptions for a defense that forced five WHS turnovers, which more than helped offset the Bulldogs’ three turnovers.

“We could see (Williamstown) again in the playoffs and they could beat us, but no one can take anything away from us in this one,” Burnside said. “Last year, they talked about the mud (in the Bulldogs’ 14-7 win) and I know everybody heard that. 

“Conditions were great this year. In fact, we were able to throw the the ball a little bit. But the kind of effort we gave is what we’ll have to give. We have one more important game and then it’s lose and you’re done.”

Perhaps the most impressive part of the Bulldogs’ victory came nearing the midway point of the third quarter. After forcing a three-and-out and taking over at its own 15, Doddridge covered 85 yards in 14 plays, with America carrying 11 times for 49 yards and scoring on a 3-yard run with 11:54 remaining.

Not only did the Bulldogs increase their lead to two possessions at 20-7, but they took off 7:55 of the 19:49 that remained prior to the start of the drive.

“It was a long drive. The kids gave great effort, and on third down they knew we had to get in, because if not we’d have had to kick a field goal to make it a two-score game,” Burnside said. “They really wanted that touchdown. 

“They knew we were running it and they knew who was getting it. A lot of the unsung heroes are not just the line —even though they played great — but the backs and receivers that are giving great effort to block. No one cared who got the ball.”

The Bulldogs, who will be No. 1 in this week’s WVSSAC playoff ratings, can secure a second straight unbeaten regular season with a win over Tygarts Valley. Already having wrapped up the Little Kanawha Conference championship, Doddridge County can also secure homefield throughout the postseason and remain the only unbeaten Class A team.

Despite winning all 10 of its regular season games in 2018, the Bulldogs were a No. 4 seed and lost at state champion Wheeling Central in a semifinal, 47-7. 

Staying at home throughout the playoffs this year would be particularly exciting for a team playing at a new on campus stadium that is among the more dazzling venues in the state.

“We definitely have to turn our attention to a very good Tygarts Valley team and coach (Rodney) Bright has done a great job. But the chance to have our school’s first back-to-back undefeated seasons and homefield is really special,” Burnside said. “The kind of effort we gave tonight is the kind of effort we want to see from this point on.”

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