VAN — A close game turned into a blowout as the Van Bulldogs defeated Midland Trial, 28-13, during its homecoming game at Herschell Jarrell Field in Van on a wet Friday night.
“The off and on rain caused us some problems, and we have lots of room for improvement, but over all we are happy to get this big win,” said Van head coach Steve Price following the game.
Van received the opening kick-off, but went three and out. Midland Trail, however, fumbled the football on its third play with 10 minutes left in the first quarter, giving the Bulldogs great field position.
Van drove to the 8-yard line and then Bulldog quarterback Logan Crouse threw a perfect pass in the left corner of the endzone to receiver Cole Price for a touchdown. After a failed extra point kick, the Bulldogs had an early 6-0 lead.
With 5:47 left in the opening quarter, Van runningback Brady Grant exploded for a 70-plus yard touchdown jaunt to give the Bulldogs a 12-0 lead. Van’s 2-point conversion failed.
The Midland Trail Patriots got on the scoreboard at the end of the first quarter after a 5-yard touchdown run. The Patriots’ extra point kick was good and the quarter ended with Van ahead, 12-7.
At the 4:45 mark of the second quarter it began to rain. Both teams struggled to move the ball on offense. However, with only 46 seconds left in the half, the Patriots were able to punch the ball in the endzone and took a 13-12 lead into the lockerroom.
“They are putting nine guys on the line of scrimmage and the rain is preventing us from getting our passing game going,” Van’s Coach Price said at halftime. “We are hoping it stops raining and we can get back to throwing the ball.”
During the homecoming halftime ceremonies, 8th graders David Stewart and Kensley White were named “Mr. & Miss Bullpup.” Seniors Logan Crouse and Baylee Farmer were selected the homecoming king and queen and named “Mr. & Miss Bulldog.”
The rain stopped and Van looked to take the lead after Brady Grant made a bid run down the sidelines. However, Grant was called for a taunting penalty just before he went into the endzone and the touchdown was called back. The penalty seemed to really hurt the Bulldogs as they failed to get a first down and had to give the ball back to the Patriots still trailing 13-12.
“I was upset,” Coach Price said. “We could have had the lead going into the fourth quarter, but instead we were still behind.”
The third quarter ended with Midland Trail still leading, 13-12.
Grant redeemed himself in the final quarter. He got outside on a long 60-plus yard run, which took the ball down to the Patriots’ 1-yard line. Two plays later Grant punched the ball into the endzone and then also ran in the 2-point conversion giving the Bulldogs a 20-13 lead.
With 5:17 left on the clock, Van’s Gavin Smith picked up a Midland Trail fumble and ran untouched for another Bulldogs’ touchdown. A successful 2-point conversion made the score Van 28, Midland Trail 13.
An impressive goalline stand for the Bulldogs ended the game and kept the final score at 28-13 for a big homecoming win for Van, which now has a 3-2 record after five games.
Greg Lail, Jacob Perry, Jacob Hoke, Jordan Hartwell and other Bulldogs also played very well in the win.
“After losing D.J. last week, we had to move lots of guys around,” Price said following the win. “We played very well in the fourth quarter, but we still have lots of work to get where we really want to be.”
Van plays on the road Friday, Oct. 2, at Class A Richwood High School. The game starts at 7:30 p.m.