Cleveland tops Bulldogs in final non-division game

New Albany fought hard but fell short in its final non-division game and now look ahead to division play beginning next week.

Down 14-0 in the second quarter, sophomore Jimmy Baldon intercepted Cleveland’s Vaughnte Dorsey, running in for the 39-yard touchdown to put the Bulldogs on the board. After holding the Wildcats on its ensuing possession, Spencer Day found J.T. Moore for the 28-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14.

“At that point, things were not going our way, and Cleveland had all of the momentum. Jimmy made a huge play there and turned the momentum around,” Bulldogs head coach Ron Price said. “Our guys fed off of that, and a few plays later, we got the ball back and put it in the end zone to tie the game.”

“We tell our kids, if you play hard every single play of the game and get yourself in a good position, good things will come. Jimmy dropped at full speed and got his hands on the ball, and when he intercepted, he made something special happen. Jimmy’s effort turned the momentum back to us, and that’s what we’re looking for.”

Tied at 14 at the half, New Albany opened the third quarter with the ball on offense, but a fumble would lead to a two-yard score for Dorsey, putting the Wildcats back on top, 21-14.

Late in the third, the Wildcats had a bad snap on a punt that put the Bulldogs at the Cleveland five-yard line, and Boston Newsome tied the game once more with five seconds remaining in the quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, Cleveland’s Di’Traeyvious Russell had a 97-yard touchdown; the difference in the game, eventually giving the Wildcats the 28-21 win.

“That’s the character of this team. They keep fighting, and someone makes a big play, but we keep digging holes,” Price said. “If we could just come out and make the plays and not the mistakes we’re making, that’s when better days are going to be ahead for us.”

The Wildcats would turn the ball over on downs late in the game, and the Bulldogs converted a fourth and 27 play, a pass from Day to Chandler Nail, but that was followed by an interception, giving Cleveland the ball with only one timeout remaining for the Bulldogs.

“Our guys battled until the very last play of the game again, and I’m very proud of our kids for doing that,” Price said. “We’re struggling right now, but we’re going to keep fighting, and eventually, the ball is going to bounce our way, and good things are going to come to this group of kids.”

Cleveland scored the first two touchdowns, the first on a one-yard run by Jason Young, and Anadonte Maxie had a 48-yard run in the second, putting Cleveland ahead 14-0.

The Bulldogs fall to 2-4 on the year and will open division play next week, hosting Senatobia for homecoming. The Warriors (2-3) are coming off of a bye week.