The Three Rivers Bulldogs (4- 2, 2-1 District 14 2A II) gashed the Nixon Smiley Mustangs (3-4, 1-2 District 14 2A II) for 358 yards and four touchdowns on the ground en route to a 27-12 victory last Friday night at Furlow Johanson Field.
Senior Troy Chowns rushed for 175 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries in the win.
“I thought Troy made some really outstanding runs,” Head Coach Randy Palmer said. “[Chowns] had good vision, broke some tackles and he was a big key for us winning the football game.”
Senior Kaleb Gee also surpassed the century mark with 102 yards on 14 carries and was the target on a 44 yard connection from Sophomore Hagan Johnston.
Throughout the game the Bulldogs methodically put drives together that marched deep into Mustang territory on the shoulders of the offensive line who Palmers said “were definitely the reason why we were in control of the game.”
“I loved it,” Palmer said with a smile, when asked about how his team controlled the ball. “I thought the offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage. We were able to get push up front and executed very well.”
After a 12 yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Chowns bursted for a 73 yard touchdown midway in the second. An extra point added by junior Zenon Sanchez brought the score to 14-0.
One the ensuing kickoff, Sanchez booted the ball off a Mustang’s facemask for a Bulldog onside recovery.
The Bulldogs took advantage and put together a 52 yard drive that ended in Chowns’ third visit to the endzone on a five yard run.
Nixon-Smiley then responded with a 70 yard drive that concluded with an 11 yard touchdown connection from Jaime Moreno to Garrett Earlywine in the waning seconds of the first half.
The Bulldogs went into halftime holding a 20-6 advantage.
Late in the third quarter, senior Ty Brown soared up to pick off a Moreno pass. The turnover set a touchdown drive that ended in a one yard run by junior Chance Saenz.
Nixon – Smiley again countered with a 55 yard touchdown reception from Moreno to Damian Perez with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. The ball was well defended by Brown and was nearly picked off a second time.
Despite the big plays in the second and fourth quarters, the Bulldogs handled the Mustangs on the defensive side of the ball, limiting them to nine first downs and 210 total yards.
Palmer said it was one of the better defensive games that the team had played all year.
“I thought we tackled much better than we have,” Palmer said. “We played physical, executed, and read our keys very well.”
The Bulldogs will travel to Dilley Friday to take on the Wolves. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.
“Dilley looks very good on offensive and defense, so we’ll have our work cut out for us,” Palmer said. “I think they are an excellent football team and they are 0-2 right now, so they have a lot of pressure to get a win.”
“Each week the stakes get higher and higher, and this week is no different.”