Prep Football: Wolves knock Bulldogs out of playoffs

Nov. 15, 2013 @ 10:32 PM

A season of ups and downs came to a heartbreaking end for the Thomasville Bulldogs Friday night at Cushwa Stadium.
With a win at its fingertips, THS gave the ball away on a costly fumble on the doorstep of the end zone. Eight minutes later, they watched Lincolnton push across the winning score, leaving them seven points short in a 14-7 Wolves win in the first round of the NCHSAA 2-A state playoffs.
Struggling on offense much of the night, the Bulldogs had a solid drive going that started at their 43. Using all runs, Thomasville worked the ball inside the LHS 5. On the 14th play from the 4 early in the fourth quarter, Demoris Payne had the ball punched out of his hands and Lincolnton recovered.
Though the defense would force a punt, a block below the knees on offense killed what was turning out to be a fruitful march down the field.
They punted and the Wolves took over at the 48.
Lincolnton was in good shape as the clock wound down under three minutes and they had moved the ball to the 21 of Thomasville. An unsportsmanlike penalty backed them up to the 36, but the Wolves were not bothered a bit by the ill-timed penalty. On the very next play, Nick Hatchett slipped into the THS secondary on a post play up the middle. He received the pass from quarterback Jordon Easter, keeping his feet through an arm tackle near the ankles and just got in before another defender could arrive. Just like that it was 14-7 and all that remained in Thomasville's season was two minutes and four seconds.
That last possession for the Bulldogs never built steam. Three incomplete passes and a run caused them to turn the ball over on downs. LHS was able to run out the clock from there.
The loss ended Thomasville's season at 5-7 while the Wolves march on at 8-4.
Lincolnton wasted no time scoring to open the game. Using its option offense, they methodically marched down the field on 11 plays, pushing the ball in from the 1-yard line on the legs of Easter. The PAT put the guests up 7-0 at the 6:48 mark of the first half.
The Wolves took that advantage into the halftime break, but the Bulldogs would tie it up on a miscue by Lincolnton.
A muffed punt at their own 16 was recovered by Thomasville's No. 16, Akeem Davis. With not much real estate left to the end zone, Payne took the handoff from quarterback Ike Marsh on the fourth play, breaking through the left side from four yards out for six. Brett Hokenson booted through the extra point for the tie at the 8:01 mark of the third quarter.

Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or kepley@tvilletimes.com.