Lisa Black photo.The Bulldogs defense shut out the Badgers in the fourth quarter, en route to the comeback win.
BEN BOLT – The Ben Bolt Badgers had the Three Rivers Bulldogs pinned down.
The Bulldogs thought otherwise.
A fourth quarter touchdown by fullback Jesse Perez kept the Bulldogs undefeated, edging out the Badgers 21-19.
“I’m extremely proud of how they responded. We were down in the game by two scores twice,” said head coach Randy Palmer. “The kids were able to fight back and just staying together as a team and working hard and eventually good things started happening for us.”
The Badgers came out quick against the Bulldogs.
Badgers running back Andres Soliz struck first with a 71-yard touchdown run. The Badgers piled on with another touchdown, courtesy of a 7-yard run by quarterback Ryan Galvan, taking a quick 13-0 lead after the first.
“You’re going to face adversity,” Palmer said. “It’s going to be different types of adversity, and it’s something that this team has done a really good job (of) throughout the year. We’ve been able to fight through any kind of adversity.
“Being down 13 points in a big district game is a lot of adversity.”
Bulldogs running back Paul Almendarez helped cut into the Badgers lead with a 52-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, going into the half with a 13-7 deficit.
The Badgers hit the Bulldogs once again in the third quarter, as Galvan connected with wide receiver Gavin Gonzalez on a 37-yard touchdown, increasing the lead to 19-7.
But the Bulldogs wouldn’t go away, as running back Weston Huff ran in a 45-yard score, cutting the Badger lead to six once again at 19-13, which would be the score after three quarters.
Facing a fourth quarter deficit was new for the Bulldogs.
“Going into the fourth quarter, our kids were confident,” Palmer said. “I don’t think they had any doubt in their mind that we were going to score and that we were going to get a stop.”
The Bulldogs took the challenge head-on.
The Bulldogs’ Perez eventually broke through and scored on a 7-yard run, tying the game at 19. Almendarez then converted on the two-point conversion, getting the Bulldogs their first lead of the game at 21-19.
For the first time, the Badgers had no answer.
“Our defense went out and got a stop with, I believe, maybe there was just a little over a minute left,” Palmer said. “So, really there was just two possessions in the fourth quarter. We had the ball once; they had the ball once. We scored and they didn’t.”
The Bulldogs were led by Almendarez’s 110 rushing yards and touchdown, along with Huff’s 74 rushing yards.
Up next for the Bulldogs is district foe London Pirates, who sport a 6-1 record.
“We’ve just got to stay focused at the task at hand. The task at hand right now is the London Pirates,” Palmer said. “They’ve got a good ball club. They’ve got some speed, so we’re going to have to play really well; we’re going to have to have a great week of preparation.”
The district match-up will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, at Bulldog Stadium.