Homecoming Heartbreaker

Vicksburg vs. Sturgis.
Vicksburg vs. Sturgis.

By Travis Smola

An injury and offensive miscues cost the Bulldogs in a tight homecoming game as they lost to Sturgis 12-8. “Offensively, we didn’t execute like we’re capable of,” coach Tom Marchese said. “That’s what cost us the game.”

The first quarter was a scoreless, defensive stalemate with both teams trading possessions back and forth.
On the first offensive drive for the Bulldogs of the second quarter, the team was successful in moving the ball downfield. On a first and goal from the Trojan’s five yard line, senior running back Nick Wallace ran into a pile at the goal line and was stripped of the ball. Sturgis recovered, but Wallace was down for the count.

What followed was a scary few minutes until Wallace was helped off the field. Wallace spent the rest of the game in shorts on the sidelines out of concussion concerns. Marchese said Wallace’s arm went numb and he suffered a severe cut to his face in the big hit and was diagnosed with a possible concussion.

In spite of the injury and turnover, Vicksburg’s defense made Sturgis go three-and-out. A short punt set up the Bulldogs on the Sturgis 20. It only took three plays for senior quarterback Brenden Lovell to find junior receiver Deondre Lovell for an 18-yard scoring strike. Deondre also caught the two-point conversion to put Vicksburg up 8-0 early in the second.
Despite pinning the Trojans deep at their own five-yard line on an excellent kick, Sturgis responded on a long scoring drive that was capped off by a 30-yard touchdown pass. The Bulldog defense stepped up and stopped the two-point conversion to keep on top.

The score was 8-6 at the half. The third quarter mirrored the first as the two teams traded possessions and field position, but failed to yield any points. “Defensively, we played well,” Marchese said. “We stopped them on fourth down a couple times.”

With around four minutes left in the game, Vicksburg again was forced to punt. Deondre Lovell had punted well all night, but on this snap, something went wrong and he was unable to get the kick off and was tackled.
The mistake cost a lot. Four plays later, Sturgis quarterback Tristen Stewart forced his way into the end zone on a three yard quarterback keeper run. The two point attempt failed.

The Bulldogs started their last drive from their own 20 with plenty of time still left on the clock but was unable to get anything going. With 1:12 left, Brenden Lovell threw an interception that sealed a Sturgis victory.

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