GLADEWATER -- Daylon Mack received quite a bit of fan interest after the Bears' 37-23 win against Carthage at Jack V. Murphy Stadium on Friday.

One of the nation's best defensive tackles, the Texas A&M commit showed he has an elite speed-to-size ratio and can thrive as a high school fullback. He scored two touchdowns and a 2-point conversion on eight carries.

But Gladewater tailback James Reese, a strong ensemble of other runners and the offensive linemen were equally well-received. They had just put the finishing touches on a wearing down process of Carthage's originally resilient defense.

"It was a great game," Reese, who paced the team with 141 yards on 21 carries and scored once, said. "Carthage played really good. Our offensive line stepped up and made big plays for us to get touchdowns and me to get my yards. The offensive line hustled all game and they were pushing us down the field. They worked hard each and every snap, and our defense did great."

Darnell McKnight rips off a 74-yard gain against Carthage in the third quarter of Friday's game. It set up a score two plays later. (Bud Worley, ETSN.fm)

While Gladewater (3-1) mostly did its thing offensively, Carthage (1-3) never found offensive rhythm.

The Bulldogs were even given two bonus drives via Gladewater fumbles. They managed 213 total yards, two touchdowns and a field goal in 57 snaps.

Juston Clough's 94-yard touchdown on the game's opening kickoff and good defensive support kept it a game for Carthage through the midway point of the third quarter.

The Bulldogs' young running back corps generated less than 50 yards.

That put a huge amount of pressure on junior quarterback Jarod Blissett. Seven dropped passes did not aid him in a 13-for-37 night, but he did throw for Carthage's two offensive touchdowns in the game.

Gladewater capitalized on the opposition's inability to finish drives consistently. The Bulldogs punted away four of nine possessions. Two more ended on turnovers on downs. One ended with a 23-yard field goal from Rafael Hernandez despite the team driving 56 yards to set up a first-and-goal situation at the 6-yard line.

The Bulldogs' first offensive touchdown came on a fourth-and-16 conversion from the Bears' 38. Blissett hit junior receiver Jakeldric Johnson in stride for a flash of what the offense could become as it matures.

"Coach (Scott) Surratt and the coaching staff there does a great job," Gladewater head coach John Berry said. "You can see they're still doing the same things they've always done. Maybe not quite the same ammunition they had in the gun as before. But I know they're going to come around.

"That's a young offensive line, they have a new quarterback and a lot of new guys out there. They just need some time. It'll be very similar to what it always is in Carthage."

Carthage's Jakeldric Jackson reaches the end zone on a 38-yard touchdown pass from Jarod Blissett. The score allowed the Bulldogs to cut their deficit to 15-13 at halftime. (Bud Worley, ETSN.fm)

The Bears scored touchdowns on drives following two of the Bulldogs' punts and once after a turnover on downs. Friday's margin of victory was 14 points.

Darnell McKnight also eclipsed 100 rushing yards for Gladewater thanks in large part to a 74-yard run in the third quarter. It set up running back Marcello Jackson's 5-yard score two plays later and upped the Bears to a 30-13 lead with 3:22 left in the period.

Marcello Jackson finished with 69 yards on 10 carries.

Mack ran for 53 yards in addition to recording four tackles on defense.

A goal coming into the game was to show defensive progression. The unit struggled to keep Lafayette (La.) St. Thomas More in check last week en route to a 42-21 loss.

"Last time out, we had a lead to start the second half to St. Thomas More," Mack said. "This week, the lead was even tighter. We ended up coming out and fighting harder. I really like that."

Gladewater quarterback Nick Canaguier attempts one of his 10 passes of the game. He completed five passes for 56 yards. (Bud Worley, ETSN.fm)

Gladewater drove 65 yards for Reese's touchdown after Clough gave Carthage the lead on the first play of the game. Reese had 30 yards on the drive. A face mask penalty was the other major contributor.

"That's James," Berry said. "Good job up front by the offensive line. He's showing who he is as a seasoned senior with some determination."

The Bears then forced consecutive three-and-outs, but turned the ball over on downs and then fumbled at the Bulldogs' 14-yard line to end their second and third series of the evening.

Carthage recovered the ball at its 2 after the fumble, stalled and got off a poor punt to end its third drive. Mack capped off the ensuing 47-yard drive with a 4-yard run and McKnight scored a 2-point conversion on a swinging gate play.

The Bulldogs clawed back into the game when Blissett connected with Jakeldric Jackson seven seconds before halftime, but their 2-point attempt failed. They headed to the locker room trailing 15-13.

Gladewater scored the next two touchdowns and took a 30-13 lead to the fourth quarter.

Carthage will attempt a rebound game next Saturday against undefeated Gilmer at Longview's Lobo Stadium. The Bears will try to sustain their momentum Friday on the road in Kilgore.

"We really wanted to get out here and win," Reese said. "Last week was a devastating loss. We really needed this."

Gladewater running back Marcello Jackson finds the end zone on a hard 5-yard score (Bud Worley, ETSN.fm)

 

Gladewater 37, Carthage 23

At Jack V. Murphy Stadium, Gladewater

Carthage                  7     6      3     7    --    23
Gladewater              7     8     15     7     --   37

First Quarter
CAR--Juston Clough 94 kickoff return (Rafael Hernandez kick), 11:45
GLA--James Reese 14 run (Fernando Serrano kick), 9:10
Second Quarter
GLA--Daylon Mack 4 run (McKnight run), 4:20
CAR--Jakeldric Johnson 38 pass from Jarod Blissett (run fail), :07
Third Quarter
GLA--Mack run 12 (Mack run), 8:34
GLA--Marcello Jackson 5 run (Serrano kick), 3:22
CAR--Hernandez 23 field goal, :41
Fourth quarter
GLA--McKnight 19 run (Serrano kick), 6:22
CAR--Leonard Maxwell 13 pass from Blissett (Hernandez kick), 4:19

                                                CAR                 GLA
First Downs                                  17                   24
Total Yards                                 213                 509
Rushes-Yards                         20-42            55-443
Passing Yards                           171                   66
Comp.-Att.-Int.                     13-37-1            5-10-0
Punts-Avg.                              4-33.2                 0-0
Fumbles-Lost                               2-0                 3-2
Penalties-Yards                          6-70               11-95

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING--Carthage, Mykel Gates 15-50, Justin Clough 1-2, Ravodney Hardy 1-2, TEAM 2-(-12). Gladewater, James Reese 21-141, Darnell McKnight 6-102, Marcello Jackson 10-69, Daylon Mack 8-53, Nick Canaguier 3-39, Daryl Polk 6-19, Justice Centers 3-19, TEAM 1-(-1).
PASSING--Carthage, Jarod Blissett 12-37-0--171. Gladewater, Canaguier 5-10-0--56
RECEIVING--Carthage, Jakeldric Jackson 4-86, Mykel Gates 3-27, Leonard Maxwell 2-23, Kirston Ingram 2-20, Juston Clough 2-15. Gladewater, Caleb Williams 3-55, Camron Callaway 1-6, Bailey Glenn 1-6.