VAN — It was a close first half, but the Van Bulldogs pulled away from the Sherman Tide in the second half for a big 40-16 win in the “Battle of Boone County” Friday night at Hershell Jarrell Field in Van.
Behind the running of Tide quarterback Bailey Kirk, Sherman was only down 10 at halftime. Kirk scored with 1:31 left in the second quarter on a quarterback keeper up the middle to cut Van’s lead to 16-6.
Previous to that touchdown, Van jumped out to an early two score lead after Bulldog quarterback Logan Crouse scored the first touchdown of the game on an outside run. Crouse connected with Van tightend Cole Price for the sucessful 2-point conversion pass giving the Bulldogs an 8-0 lead with 8:28 on the first quarter clock.
Van went on a long drive to start the second quarter behind the running of sophomore sensation Brady Grant. On a third down from the Tide’s 25-yard line, Grant jumped a defender to pick up the first down. A few plays later, Crouse hit Cole over the middle with a perfect pass for a touchdown, giving the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead. The 2-point conversion pass from Tyler Stewart to Crouse push the score to 16-0.
With the score 16-6 at the half, both coaches said the wet and raining conditions were causing some issues.
“We need to block better, cover better and score more points,” said Sherman Tide head coach J.D. Fairchild as he went into the lockerroom at the half.
“We can’t turn the ball over and give Sherman easy scores,” Van’s head coach Steve Price said at halftime. “We need to clean up some of our mistakes and make some adjustments on defense.”
However, the rainy and wet conditions caused both teams to fumble on their first posessions to start the second half.
With 7:38 left in the third quarter, Van freshman Gavin Smith was able to make a great catch from Crouse for a 7-yard touchdown. Crouse ran a quarterback sweep and got in the corner of the endzone for a successful 2-point conversion, which gave the Bulldogs a commanding 24-6 lead.
The Tide responded with a long drive of its own. Kirk led Sherman down the field passing to Logan Kauff, Kyle Davis and Nate Dickens.
With 3:45 left in the third quarter, Kirk took a quarterback sneak 1-yard for his second touchdown of the game. Sherman’s 2-point conversion failed and Van lead was cut to 24-12.
The Bulldogs star runningback Brady Grant then put on a show. With 3:14 in the third, he broke tackles on his way to a 50 yard touchdown run, followed by a 37-yard touchdown run with 11:51 left in the game.
“Once Brady gets going, he is very hard to stop,” Price said after the game. “He always runs hard and it’s just a matter of time before he is going to bust a big run in the game.”
On the game’s final play, Sherman’s Kyle Davis took the ball 60-plus yards for a touchdown with no time remaining on the clock to end the game Van 40 and Sherman 12.
Van won its third straight game to improve to 5-2 on the season. They can into the game ranked #16 in Class A, which is the final playoff spot. However, the Bulldogs are expected to move up in the Class A rankings after Friday night’s win at home.
Van plays next at Montcalm Friday, Oct. 16, starting at 7 p.m.
The Sherman Tide lost its third straight game and dropped to 1-6 in Class A. The team’s next game is on the road at Man High School against the Class A top rated Hillbillies. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
No statistics from the Van vs. Sherman game have been submitted by either team.