Bald Knob defenders team up for tackle at Elkins

Bald Knob senior linebacker Zach Johnson, senior defensive lineman Hayden McAnelley and junior defensive lineman Travis Kersey team up for a tackle against the Elkins Elks in the Bulldogs’ road 4A state playoff game Friday night.

ELKINS – The Bald Knob Bulldogs’ defense kept the first half close against the Elkins Elks but the second half turned into too much for the Bulldogs to overcome as their season ended with a 44-7 loss Friday in the 4A state playoffs.

The Elks didn’t take long to jump in front of the Bulldogs before the defense shut them down for most of the rest of the half.

With 9:43 left in the first quarter, wide receiver Cody Drummond scored a 49-yard touchdown run. The extra point was good and quickly the Elks led 7-0.

The Bulldogs were not able to get much going on their opening drive as the Elkins defense swarmed the ball. On an early fourth-and-4, quarterback Leason Pierce threw an interception to Elkins’ Kelynn Daniel.

On the very next play, the Elks gave the ball right back to the Bulldogs on a fumble to set up Bald Knob deep in its own territory.

The Bulldogs were able to convert on a big fourth down to keep their drive alive, but were unable to convert a fourth down in the red zone and turned the ball over on downs to the Elks.

Elkins punted and it was returned to the Bald Knob 15, but an illegal block in the back had the Bulldogs staring at a first-and-10 at their 5 at the end of the first quarter with Elkins leading 7-0.

The score didn’t change, though, until a big burst near the end of the half by Elkins.

The Elks started to march down the field and faced a third-and-17 at the Bald Knob 30 before Braden Shumate connected on a 47-yard field goal at the 2:00 mark, extending the Elks lead to 10-0.

Then with 10 seconds left in the second quarter after a quick three-and-out from Bald Knob, Shumate scored on a 40-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kain Johnson. Shumate kicked the extra point and at the end of the half, the Elks held a 17-0 lead.

The second half got off to a similar start as the first one.

Elkins forced the Bulldogs to a quick three-and-out to open the second half and marched down the field down the half-yard line. On a fourth-down play, Trevor Shumate scored a 1-yard touchdown run with 6:13 left in the third quarter.

Before the end of the quarter, with 1:50 left, Elkins pushed its lead to 30-0 when Tyler King scored off a deflection from 35 yards out and Braden Shumate kicked the extra point.

The Bulldogs responded with what was easily their best drive of the night.

Pierce threw three passes of over 10 yards in the drive to set up Bald Knob for a chance to score before the end of the quarter.

With 15 seconds left in the quarter, Pierce connected with senior Josh Clark for a 29-yard touchdown strike. Marcus McGahee kicked the extra point.

The Elks did not take long to respond to the Bulldog’s touchdown. With 11:16 left in the game, tight end Gunner Casebolt ran for a 36-yard touchdown. Johnson connected with Brown to get the two-point conversion to make the Elk lead 38-7.

The Elks with 5:40 left in the game forced the mercy rule on a 5-yard run to extend the lead to 44-7. They did not convert the two-point try.

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