After being shut down for a half, Winder-Barrow’s offense came to life for a little bit in the third quarter Friday night and got the Bulldoggs back in the game, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a rough start against visiting Eastside High School.
Junior running back Dallas Johnson ran for 250 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown, while senior Sincere Johnson added 166 yards and a pair of rushing scores, as the Eagles toppled the Bulldoggs 27-14 at W. Clair Harris Stadium. The victory spoiled both Winder-Barrow’s 2020 home opener and denied Bulldogg head coach Ed Dudley’s bid for a 200th career win.
Eastside, in its first year in GHSA Class 5A after moving up, was playing its season opener Friday after having its preseason preparations cut short and missing at least a couple of weeks in practice in August when the Newton County School System temporarily suspended athletic activities due to coronavirus concerns. But aside from a handful of penalties, the Eagles didn’t look rusty or seem to have many first-game jitters in the opening half. The Eagles rolled up 227 yards on the ground in the first half, and their suffocating defense limited the Bulldoggs to just 30 total yards and one first down before halftime.
After returning the opening kickoff of the game to the Winder-Barrow 47, the Eagles drove 26 yards on six plays before Jaydon Fain knocked down a 38-yard field goal to give his team an early lead.
The Bulldoggs’ defense appeared to settle in, but a blocked punt by Kevin Napier late in the first quarter gave the Eagles the ball at the Winder-Barrow 2-yard line and swung the whole trajectory of the game. Sincere Johnson scored his first touchdown of the night on the next play and then motored in from 73 yards out on the first play of Eastside’s next possession to extend the lead to 17-0 with 20 seconds left in the quarter.
Fain drilled another field goal — this one from 44 yards out — midway through the second quarter to make it 20-0.
Winder-Barrow (1-1) showed some quick-strike capability of its own in the second half and quickly chipped away at the three-score deficit. On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, junior quarterback Trevor Summerfield hit fellow junior Stewart Allen over the middle of the field, and Allen took it to the house from 74 yards away to get the Bulldoggs on the board. Then later in the quarter, after the Bulldoggs took over at their 47 following a punt, senior running back J.C. Green ripped off a 53-yard touchdown run on the first play of the drive to bring his team within a touchdown.
But Winder-Barrow’s momentum was short-lived. After both teams exchanged punts, Dallas Johnson took a handoff on a 3rd-and-13 counter play and raced 60 yards to the end zone to extend the lead to 27-14.
The Eagles’ defense regained their footing from there and intercepted three Summerfield passes in the fourth quarter to snuff out any attempt at a rally.
Summerfield finished the night with 103 passing yards, while Green had 75 yards on 15 carries.
The Bulldoggs will be back in action Sept. 18 with another non-region contest as they host Glynn Academy.
E 17 3 7 0 — 27
W 0 0 14 0 — 14
E—Jaydon Fain 38 FG
E—Sincere Johnson 2 run (Fain kick)
E—Sincere Johnson 73 run (Fain kick)
E—Fain 44 FG
W—Stewart Allen 74 pass from Trevor Summerfield (Ivan Rodriguez kick)
W—J.C. Green 53 run (Rodriguez kick)
E—Dallas Johnson 60 run (Fain kick)