An impressive, convincing win is what New Albany will take into the playoffs, as the Bulldogs handed Lewisburg a 43-7 loss on Friday.
“It was nice because we’ve been in so many close games that we haven’t been able to come out and enjoy Friday nights because every game has come down to the last minute,” NAHS coach Ron Price said. “Tonight was nice to get up early and see the offense be successful and the defense be successful.”
The ‘Dawgs opened with 14 first quarter points off of Spencer Day touchdown passes to Josh Creekmore and Josh Hardin. The Patriots scored its lone touchdown early in the second on a run by Xavier Morris, and Creekmore capped the first half with his second touchdown with a minute remaining before the half. Hardin and Creekmore are two of 14 seniors that were honored before the game, and Price credited their effort not only tonight, but all season.
“They have tremendous leadership, and they’re a very hardworking group,” he said. “They’ve been through the program, and we’ve been fortunate to coach them every year, and they’re an amazing group of kids.
“They had a tremendous amount of pressure on them coming into this season and they never doubted that they could be better than what we did last year. I’m very thankful to be their coach and thankful for the season we’ve had so far.”
Day connected with Hardin once more in the third quarter, and an interception return for a touchdown by Chandler Nail made it 35-7 early in the fourth quarter.
“I do what I can, and the coaches have preached to me about staying deep and breaking on it, so I did what Coach Monroe told me to do,” Nail said of his score.
Day finished the night with four touchdowns, finding Riley Alef later in the fourth, and the Bulldogs will now look ahead to its first round match up against Houston next week.
“We were able to get a lot of young kids in there at the end, and they’ve worked extremely hard this year, so it makes them feel like they’re getting a reward by participating on Friday nights,” Price said. “It was just an outstanding effort, and I’m thankful we were able to send our seniors out in style.”
“We’re very excited about the playoffs because a lot of people did not think we would make it, so we had to come out and prove to everyone that we’re still as good as w were last year,” senior Terrance Riles added. “Hopefully we can keep it up.”
The Hilltoppers enter the playoffs at 6-5 having defeated Kosciusko 29-0 on Friday and have won three of their last four games.
“They’re in a very tough division with Noxubee County and Louisville, and they played them both extremely well,” Price said. “They have a new coach, and he’s turned that program around. They’ve never won a playoff game, and that will be their motivation, but I hope it’s another year before they win that playoff game.”
“We’re going for our third consecutive win, and it will be at home, so we’re looking to go out and get a big win, and it takes hard work and dedication from everyone,” junior Jerrell Howell added. “No one is ready for the season to end and we’re not ready to move on to our other sports, so we’re going to give it all we’ve got in the playoffs.”