Bulldogs roll over Decatur
Caroline improves to 4-1 after Bailey nets 5 touchdowns
RIDGELY — Many high school football coaches agree scoring early and often is the best way to win.
North Caroline High tailback David Bailey did just that Saturday night against Stephen Decatur, scoring four rushing touchdowns and catching a pass for another in a 41-13 rout.
The Bulldogs improved to 4-1, while Decatur slipped to 0-5.
“They’re a really good team,” Decatur head coach Stan Griffin said. “And not only were they doing what they were supposed to be doing, we weren’t doing what we should’ve been. ... And we didn’t start doing it well, executing, until the second half.”
Decatur, held to just a pair of first downs before halftime, had little luck on its opening drive and punted. Bailey struck quickly, his 35yard dash around left end on Caroline’s first play from scrimmage making it 7-0 following Robbie Blakely’s point-after kick, with 2½ minutes elapsed in the first quarter.
Bailey struck on the Bulldogs’ next drive, scoring from 17 yards out. His junior classmate, defensive lineman Jamion Franklin, set up the next scoring drive when he burst through the line on a bad snap, sacked Decatur quarterback Quinn Ebaugh, knocking the ball loose, and falling on it to give Caroline possession. Bailey’s 7-yard touchdown run made it 21-0 on the last play of the first quarter.
Bailey’s fourth rushing score came less than five minutes later, this time from six yards out. He finished with 119 yards rushing on 11 touches.
The scoring outburst on the weak side came, according to North Caroline head coach James McCormick, because of successes Decatur had on the other end of the line.
“They were causing us some problems on the strong side with our running game, trying to get offtackle,” McCormick said. “I think they were loaded so hard to the strong side that we started running weak, and that was what worked.”
“I kinda knew we had it in the first half, because our guys came out playing great,’ Bailey said. “Since the first play the linemen were playing great; we got great play calling from the coaches.”
North Caroline senior fullback Allan Saathoff, who carried a pair of defenders to the 5-yard line to set up a first-and-goal situation in the waning moments of the first half, dashed in on the next snap to make it 34-0. But the PAT sailed wide right, preventing the running clock, which stops only for timeouts and injuries, as the second half began.
It took Caroline only three minutes after intermission to get it going, though. Quarterback Cody Pepper found Bailey wide open down the left sideline for a 29-yard score on fourth-and-6. Ahead 41-0, the Bulldogs looked ready to cruise, with 9½ minutes left in the third and the Seahawks showing little offense.
But Avante’ Purnell changed that on the next possession. His 77-yard dash to the end zone on the first snap after Pepper’s pass finally got Decatur on the board; John Ford’s PAT made it 41-7, and turned off the running clock.
Ed Zonnak’s 9-yard touchdown run at the end of the third quarter pulled Decatur within 41-13.
Not much had actually changed after halftime, McCormick said.
“They were just playing better than we were,” McCormick commented with a laugh. “They kept banging and playing hard . ... I think that we lost a little concentration, thinking maybe the game was over and not doing the things we needed to do.”
The four-score margin was as close as it got, though. Despite a Bulldog drive deep into the Seahawk red zone in the last two minutes, a lost fumble killed it. Decatur recovered at its 1-yard line, and ran one play before the clock expired.
North Caroline hosts Parkside on Friday at 7 p.m. for homecoming. Rams head coach Brendan Riley and three of his staff were on hand to scout the first half of Saturday’s game, which had been postponed 24 hours due to bad weather.
“They’re a big, physical team; they’re going to come right at you,” McCormick said of Parkside. “They’re talented, they have some speed. We’re just going to have to coach well and play well, we know that.”
Decatur hosts Kent County on Friday at 6 p.m.
North Caroline junior tailback David Bailey watches his team’s defense play, shortly after he had scored his fourth touchdown of the night in his team’s 41-13 defeat of visitor Stephen Decatur, on Saturday, Oct. 1. Bailey finished with five scores on the night.