With three tough losses to open the season for the New Albany High School Bulldogs, playoffs were the last thing on any Bulldog fans mind. But, as the Bulldogs entered their first division game against Center Hill, head coach Bubba Davis said their preseason was over and their real season started now.
After beating Saltillo Friday night, the Bulldogs have gone 3-3 in the division setting themselves up for a possible playoff birth.
Offensive coordinator Trey Rolison said, For us to get a playoff bid. Shannon and Itawamba will have to win out for the top two spots, which means Itawamba has to defeat Pontotoc this Friday night.
The Bulldogs closed division play Friday night in a landslide victory 48-14 over Saltillo. New Albany struck first with a strong drive followed by a short touchdown run by Jeremy Cannon.
Saltillo followed with their own touchdown. Cannon scored again on a 16 yard run. Saltillo was unable to get a good return on the following kickoff, leaving them deep in their own territory. The Dogs defense held and forced the Saltillo punt team on the field. As the ball came off the kickers foot, Bulldog Jacob Lee managed to get his hand over it for the block. He recovered the loose ball in the endzone for the third Bulldog touchdown.
Following another kickoff and nearly blocked punt, the Dogs took the ball back and sent Cannon on a 64 yard textbook run as he followed his blockers past the goal line for his third touchdown of the night. Saltillo manage to find room to run in one more score before the half making the score 28-14.
Both teams came back after halftime and showed strong defensive efforts leaving the third quarter free of scores. The fourth quarter brought an explosion of scoring from one side of the ball as the Bulldogs marched down the field to score 20 points with touchdown runs by Cannon and Michael Garner, as well as a 70-yard run by ninth grader Kareem Brown.
The Kicking game looked better this week for the Dogs as Jonathan Lindsey drove home six of seven extra point attempts, and Sam Cooper sent off solid punts all night. Cooper also stopped a Saltillo touchdown with a diving stop to end the Tigers punt return.
It was tough to have a good week of practice this week because of the conditions, but I think we managed to do well on both sides of the ball. Our offense was a little off tonight, but I hope the weather this week will allow us to have some good practices and prepare for Byhalia, Rolison said
Cannon rushed for 260 yards and four touchdowns. Dodds was 50 percent on the night, going 5-10 for 75 yards.
If we can keep improving every week, I think we stand a good chance at going into the playoffs and doing something good, Rolison said.