Nacogdoches Moves To 3-0 With 34-14 Win Over Carthage
CARTHAGE — The Nacogdoches Dragons claimed a significantly less heart-stopping 34-14 victory over Carthage on Friday night to close out their non-district schedule.
Mistakes ended up being the name of the game for a young an inexperienced Bulldogs team.
The Dragons (3-0) committed just three penalties for 14 yards and gave away no fumbles en route to the victory.
In contrast, the Bulldogs (1-2) struggled with the same issues that plagued the Dragons in the first two wins — penalties and turnovers.
The Bulldogs committed seven penalties for 32 yards and fumbled the ball on a key drive. Additionally, they were also stopped on fourth down on the Dragons' 2-yard line on a drive and threw an interception to close out the first half as they were driving.
Nacogodches senior running back Coronado Tolbert continued on a roll, picking up 210 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries.
Though throwing his first interception of the season, quarterback Hunter McClellan played a solid game, going 12 of 21 for 198 yards and two touchdowns on strikes of 45 yards and 50 yards. He added another rushing touchdown on a 1-yard quarterback sneak.
Carthage quarterback Jarod Blissett threw for 216 yards on 16 completions to help steer the effort for the Bulldogs.
Freshman running back Mykel Gates got off to a solid start for the Bulldogs, rushing for 85 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, but left after the first half with an injury.
The Bulldogs tried to fill the void with a platoon. Junior Ravodney Hardy was one of four backs to run the ball in the second half, finishing with five carries for 52 yards.
Nacogdoches got off to a quick lead after forcing the Bulldogs to punt. McClellan threw a touchdown pass of 45 yards to Ken Rogers to take a 7-0 lead with 8:48 left in the first quarter.
The Dragons followed that up by attempting a 36-yard field goal on their next possession, but it was missed. However, a Bulldogs offsides penalty gave the Dragons an opportunity to convert on fourth down, which they did.
A few plays later, McClellan scored another touchdown for the Dragons on a sneak to give the Dragons a 13-0 lead with 3:06 left in the first quarter.
Carthage responded on the following drive, with Gates driving in for the score from 5 yards out to cut the Dragons’ lead to 13-7 with 2:38 in the first.
After that, the Dragons continued to pad their lead for the rest of the half.
Tolbert scored on a 1-yard rush with 8:47 left in the second quarter to increase the lead to 20-7.
The Dragon defense stopped the Bulldogs on fourth down at the 1-yard line on the next drive to keep the score at 20-7. On the next drive, McClellan threw another score of 50 yards to Tae Thomas to take a 27-7 lead with 3:17 left in the first half.
With one last opportunity to score before the end of the half, Corey Lane intercepted Blissett as he was throwing into the end zone.
Carthage attempted an onside kick and recovered it to start the second half, but the Nacogdoches defense forced a fumble and Kamron Yarbrough recovered it on the first play of the following drive to give the Dragons the ball in favorable field position.
Tolbert took advantage of the situation, scoring on a 37-yard rush to increase the lead to 34-7 with 11:03 left in the third quarter. It was the Dragons’ lone score of the second half.
Carthage’s lone score of the second half came on a 4-yard rush from Trey Jackson with 3:34 left in the third to make the score 34-14.
After that, the Dragons kept handing the ball off to Tolbert to run out the clock and secured the win.
The win comes as a revenge for the Dragons, as they fell to Carthage 44-40 last season.
Carthage is back in action next Friday night at Gladewater, while Nacogdoches is off next week before beginning District 16-5A play at home against Lufkin on Sept. 26.