HUNTLAND — The Cornersville Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0) made the trek eastward on Highway 64 Friday night to the land of Johnny Majors to begin the tough Region 5A schedule against the Huntland Hornets (1-1, 0-1).
The Bulldogs, with a dominating defense that allowed only 20 yards of offense to go with a punishing running attack that racked up 249 yards rushing, overpowered the Hornets 39-0.
The Bulldogs were led by Mason Calahan's 101 yards rushing on 15 carries and a touchdown.
Ben Franklin had 55 yards on eight carries and Cason Warner contributed 35 yards on seven carries, with two TD’s.
Defensively, Rhett Woodard led the way for the Bulldog defense and finished with 7.5 tackles, including seven solo tackles.
Calahan also grabbed an interception, as he contributed on both sides of the ball.
"The guys in the trenches really stood up and played well for us tonight," Bulldog coach Gerard Randolph said. "This is what we need as the season goes along.”
Rhett Woodard recovered a Huntland fumble and the Bulldogs began their first possession at the Hornet 41-yard line.
The Bulldogs could not muster a sustained drive and the quarter drew to a close tied 0-0.
Cornersviille began to crash through the Huntland defense and at the 10:53 mark of the second quarter Cason Warner banged over from the 5 for a touchdown, then scored a two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
A Hornet pass was intercepted by Calahan to put the Bulldogs in business at the Hornet 32-yard line with 7:03 left in the first half.
“We got the interception and went down and scored. That’s what we want to do, take a turnover and turn it into a score,” Randolph said,
"We (defense) really got it together tonight. We picked up on some things they (Huntland) do and were able to make our reads. That’s what we needed to do." Bulldog linebacker Rhett Woodard said.
Warner scored on a 7-yard run, but a holding penalty denied the two-point conversion, the PAT was no good and Cornersville led 14-0.
The Hornets could not move the ball on their next possession and when attempting to punt on fourth down, the ball sailed over the punter’s head and through the end zone for a Bulldog safety and 16-0 lead at the 4:22 mark of the second quarter.
Then things continued to spiral out of control when a handful of penalties led to a pair of Bulldogs being ejected.
After the half the Bulldogs continued their dominance.
The defense pounded the Huntland runners and harassed the quarterbacks into hurried throws.
On offense, with their offensive line opening holes, Cornersville running back Rhett Woodard scored on a three-yard run and Ben Franklin ran for the two-point conversion to pad the lead at 24-0.
“We (offensive linemen) held our blocks all night and made some holes for Cason, Ben, Mason, Rhett and Qualls. It was a good night for us,” Bulldog lineman Blake Jones said.
On the next possession Calahan bulldogged his way into the end zone with Franklin again rushing for the two-point conversion and the Cornersville lead stretched to 32-0.
The Bulldogs tacked on another touchdown in the fourth quarter, as Riley Qualls rushed in from the five-yard line and Riley Gillit kicked the PAT to make the score 39-0.
“I felt like in the first half we came out with a good game plan, then the penalties, but in the second half we came out and did what we had to do to win,” Calahan said.
When told that a full house could be expected for next Friday night's Region 4-A matchup at Frog Bottom with Clay County, the Bulldog running back broke out into a big grin.
The game pairs two Top 10 1A teams.
Cornersville 0 16 16 7 — 39
Huntland 0 0 0 0 — 0
C — Cason Warner 5 run, (Warner 2 pt. run), 10:53.
C — Warner 8 run, (2 pt. run failed), 6:27.
C — Safety, 4:22.
C — Rhett Woodard 3 run, (Ben Franklin 2 pt. run), 8:27.
C — Mason Calahan 5 run, (Franklin 2 pt run), 3:30.
C — Riley Qualls 5 run, (Riley Gillit PAT good), 4:50.