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‘Dogs make it two in a row

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090422 corrigan vs elksBulldog senior back Anthony Harrell finds room along the left side on an early first-down run. Photo by Albert Trevino

By Albert Trevino
Enterprise Staff

The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs established a strong halftime lead and finished with a 49-22 win against the Elkhart Elks on Friday.

Corrigan’s offense found its rhythm and never looked back, as Elkhart pulled off some early highlights in the passing game that kept it close only in the first half.

“Our defense has led the way so far and always does. To come out with a couple of communication mistakes and play against a team that throws the ball better, we need that,” said Bulldog head coach Brett Ratliff. “We are going to have to stop that if we are going to make a run like we want to.”

Elkhart struck first on its opening drive, as a breakdown in the Bulldog secondary left an open Elk receiver for a 46-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Trystyn Tidrow.

The Bulldog offense answered with senior running back Anthony Harrell breaking through the middle for a 29-yard touchdown run. Corrigan took the early 7-6 lea with the extra point.

A muffed kickoff return by Elkhart set its offense deep in their own territory, then gave up field position on a three-and-out.
It helped set up Bulldog senior quarterback Christian Guzman for a couple of big runs, leading to Harrell punching it in for another rushing touchdown to extend the lead.

The Elks would be forced to punt again from deep and Guzman threw a 30-yard pass to senior receiver JaVarion Williams in the endzone to take a 21-6 lead going into the second quarter.

Elkhart responded, as Tidrow ran for a huge gain into the red zone, then tossed a touchdown pass down the middle to junior receiver Pablo Rodarte to cut it back to a one-score game.
This would only temporarily keep it a close match, as the Bulldogs continued their fast pace going into halftime.

Guzman connected with junior receiver Bayden Lawrence on another touchdown pass.
Then, a Corrigan fumble near the goal line was quickly negated by an Elkhart fumble in the end zone for a Bulldog defensive touchdown.

“[Offensively,] we were essentially 5-for-5 in the first half.” Ratliff said. “I thought they had a pretty good plan. [Tidrow] threw the ball well. We let one guy slip by us on the defensive coverage. Then, the next drive they kind of earned it.”

The Bulldogs would run away in the second half and further extend their lead. The biggest play came in the third quarter, when Guzman ran for an 80-yard touchdown.

Corrigan will play at home again Friday at 7:30 p.m. against the Kirbyville Wildcats.

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Too much to handle

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090422 lions vs needvilleJakob St. Martin (left) and Brayden Ethier celebrate one of the Lions’ three touchdowns Friday night. Courtesy photo

By Brian Besch
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Lion football showed improvement in the second game of the season, but a few glaring weaknesses were too much to overcome a 44-19 loss to Needville Friday in Livingston.

Needville quarterback Diego Ochoa completed just four passes on the night, but two went for touchdowns and all were at least 20 yards. Ochoa also ran for 80 yards, while running back Da’Shawn Burton added 119 yards and three scores on just 14 carries. With 254 yards on the ground, the Blue Jays averaged over seven yards per tote.

The Lion offense showed progress, but lacked the consistency needed to remain competitive. Quarterback Jakob St. Martin ran for 94 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries, while the rest of the team combined for 90 yards on 23 attempts. St. Martin threw the ball 21 times, completing 10 of those for 118 yards with an interception. An opening drive of just three plays, the Blue Jays took a 7-0 advantage. A few possessions later, Livingston had a scoring drive of their own when a Landon Leggett fumble recovery at the Needville 21 set the Lions up in good field position. A blocked extra point kept the visitors in front at 7-6.

After a few Blue Jay touchdowns, Livingston extended a second-quarter drive with a fake punt and marched 62 yards in 10 plays, taking over five minutes for a St. Martin 4-yard run. The final Livingston score would come in the second half, closing the deficit to 30-19.

“Once again, they were too much for us to handle,” Lion coach Finis Vanover said. “We had four great plays where we had them completely set up and executed perfectly, and something would go wrong. They ate us alive on our play action stuff, we couldn't hit the quick throws, they just took us to the woodshed for the majority of the contest. We had some fine possessions and upgraded ourselves, but we didn't get good enough to play those folks, making the errors that we made. We told them at halftime that it is a two-score game and we've made glaring mistakes. But, we gave up the big explosive plays on defense, and you can't do that.”

The Lion defense failed to hold up its end, unable to stop the run or pass. Statistics from Ochoa could have been much worse had Blue Jay receivers brought in passes hitting their hands. In two games now, the young Livingston secondary has been inadequate in coverage.

“We don't have any answers right now in a couple of those spots,” Vanover said of his pass defense. “It is what it is right now. We are struggling against really good talent. We can't hit the panic button and can't fold up the tents. We have to keep getting better. Palestine (next week’s opponent) is going to have some folks, but we just have to keep with it. Characters are getting tested right now. We're getting isolated out there and those guys are just shredding us. We've got to step up and make plays.”

Another area of the game damaging Livingston chances is special teams, where an extra point was blocked, kickoff returns were not fielded cleanly on multiple occasions, and the kickoff team allowed an 80-yard return for a touchdown. The one bright spot on special teams for the night was punter Nester Ramirez.

“Just atrocious – we didn't block a soul on kick return and we were just feeding them the returners like sacrificial lambs. I wouldn't catch it either. We spent more time on that in film, and even did it today. That is about want-to and heart. Right now, we're not wanting to do it too much.”

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Going hunting in week two

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090122 bulldog elk advance

By Albert Trevino
Enterprise staff

The (1-0) Corrgian-Camden Bulldogs will play their home opener this Friday against the (1-0) Elkhart Elks.
Despite some thunderstorms in the area early this week, Bulldog head coach Brett Ratliff is making sure his team gets in their field drills when possible.

“The weather is going to be hit and miss around here, but we will get out [for practice] a little anyway and try to get it done.” said Ratliff.

Corrigan held on for a week-one victory against the Buna Cougars, but Ratliff is working to improve overall from a match he feels should have been sealed just after the first half.

“I think we had an opportunity to close [Buna] out in the third quarter and really finish the game.” he said. “We did a good job in moving the chains, but I would have liked to see more explosive plays from us. [Buna’s defense] was big, strong and fast, so that is not all on us.

“On defense, we gave up the two plays — the play action pass and the screen. Those are things that we train our guys to look for. That is just discipline and we have to be a little better in that way.”

Elkhart has struggled in recent years, including against Corrigan, losing 28-14 in 2021 and 30-0 in their 2020 contest. However, the Elks come into Friday’s game with a 42-20 upset victory in week one against the Huntington Red Devils.
“I am sure they are coming off a really big high and circled our game on their schedule.” Ratliff said. “I think they feel like they have played with us at times the past two years, but were not able to get over the hump.”

Sophomore quarterback Trysten Tidrow will lead the Elkhart offense as its main asset, according to Ratliff.

“[Tidrow] is their weapon on offense and does a really good job creating off the run. He throws the short and intermediate passing game well. I think we will see more balls in the air this week, which will be a good test for our secondary.”

Ratliff expects an aggressive attack from Elkhart’s defense, including a lot of linebacker pressure and even some cornerback and safety blitzes.

“What they try to do is get us behind our sticks. If they stop us for a yard or even a loss of yardage, that puts us in a different play set. They definitely made some plays on Huntington by bringing pressure and I think they will try the samething against us.”

Kickoff for Friday’s game is set for 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium.

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Needing improvement versus Needville

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090122 loin needville advance

By Brian Besch
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Livingston Lion football looks to bounce back after a season-opening defeat to a strong Episcopal team that provided a multitude of teaching points. The week should be productive, and the football adage of most improvement coming between week one and two seems appropriate.

“Their receivers out-athleted us and beat us to the ball every time. They just kept throwing them deep until they caught up with a couple,” Lion coach Finis Vanover said. “The rest of the time, it was those long 12- to 18-yard crossing routes that we couldn’t keep up with. Those receivers were really talented. (Episcopal’s Karson Gordon) is a gifted athlete, but when he showed his best quarterbacking, he threw an 18- or 19-yard out route about three times.

“The key to it was their offensive line; they were gorgeous. They were 6-foot-4 all the way across and they kept us just pinned. There were 11 plays in the game that we played on their side of the ball. There was a loss of yardage or no gain every one of those times. Once the kids saw it in film on Saturday, they got the deal. When we play our game, it is an attack penetration front, you have to find a way to get it done. When we did, we either sacked him or there was a loss of yardage.”

There is another spread team in Needville this week. It is a rematch of two years ago, when the Lions lost a 36-35 game at Blue Jay Stadium.

“Needville is still the same; they haven’t changed,” Vanover said. “There are big, strong boys up front. On film, it doesn’t look to be as good as what we just saw, but there are similarities in their offenses and defenses. There is not going to be lots of new preparation this week, we just have to come with a great attitude and new effort on accomplishing the things that we talked about.”

Vanover said penetrating a big Blue Jay offensive line will be key for defensive success, just as it was the week before. Needville runs a true spread, with four receivers and a back next to the signal caller on most plays.
Defensively, the week two opponents are based out of an odd-front defense, mostly in a 50 front. However, they will show three or four linebackers and three or four in the secondary, based on the package. Livingston could see a 4-4 stack, as well as a Cover 3 zone on the back end.

The Lions will again rely on their ground game to set up the pass. Last week, they ran the ball 39 times for 162 yards. Quarterback Jakob St. Martin was the leading rusher with 53 yards, and sophomore Jerren James came in as a third string tailback to collect 44.

After falling behind Friday, Livingston had trouble finishing drives, with many ending on the opponents’ side of the field.

“There is a teaching and learning point. We had five possessions from the 25-yard line in and came away with one score. We had three right there in the first half, so the worst-case scenario should have been 21-21 if we just take care of business. We have to learn from that and take advantage. We averaged 10 yards on our 11 completions. We still have some of that culture and some of our new kids that it’s no good if you’re not throwing 80-yard passes.”

Needville finished 2021 with a 3-7 record, but head coach Mike Giles’ group started the season off right with a 21-20 win over Columbia last week. Needville scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to come from behind in that contest.

“Their nose tackle is always good and they always put their best player there at nose. Their linebackers are very good tacklers and downhill pluggers. The quarterback is a good operator, but he’s not as athletic as the kid we just faced.”

Livingston will have a good measure of how much they have grown in the past week, based on play Friday night. Similar offenses and defenses to just a few days before should give the team a head start on success versus Needville. The defense particularly will need to begin displaying an understanding after surrendering over 450 yards, with schools like Madisonville, Huffman Hargrave, Lumberton and Splendora running many of the same spread concepts.

“We had a great crowd and a standing room only sellout crowd. We didn’t please them very well. But get another ticket, watch your son’s play this week and see how much improvement there is. It is going to be a process. We wish we could have looked a lot better, but there was a bunch of good-looking stuff that took place that we have to take advantage of. We are going to be good if we just keep growing. We can’t get that old mentality back in us, where we get negative and turn on each other. It is going to take us two or three weeks to get there, and we have some great opponents to show us how to do it.” 

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‘Dogs win by seven

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082822 bulldog fb

By Albert Trevino
Enterprise Staff

The Corrigan-Camden Bulldog controlled the early momentum Friday night and held on for a 28-21 week-one victory against the Buna Cougars.

Despite a late rally from the Cougars in the fourth, the Bulldogs established a decent halftime lead and finished the second half by managing time of possession and making the right plays on both sides down the stretch.

“Buna is a really good football team. I do not care what the record was last year,” said Bulldog head coach Brett Ratliff. “They got a lot of kids back. [Johnson] is a really dynamic running back. They are big, fast and strong in places.They gave us all we wanted at times…That could have demoralized us, but it did not. It just fired us up.”

Buna struck first on the opening possession with junior running back Jacob Johnson easily taking chucks of yardage most of the way. Sophomore running back would reach the end zone to finish the drive for a six-point lead. The extra two-point attempt was stopped by Corrigan.

Corrigan senior JaVarion Williams countered a holding call on the first Bulldog possession, stepping around several tackles to reach near the red zone. This set up a pass from senior back Morgan Rayburn to junior receiver Bayden Lawrence approach the goal line going into the second quarter.

Senior quarterback Christian Guzman finished with a short dive for a touchdown to take the 7-6 lead with the extra kick.
Later in the second, the Bulldogs capitilized on a sack fumble recovered by senior lineman Nate Blalock. Rayborn connected on another huge pass to senior back Anthoney Harrell to get near the red zone. Williams would find running room along the left side for a touchdown to extend the lead to eight points.

In the final moments of the half, Corrigan’s offense got another short field after a shanked punt by the Cougars. Harrell made a big first-down run, added on by personal fouls by the Cougar defense.

From inside the five, Wiliams would punch it in for another short touchdown run, making it a 21-6 halftime lead for the Bulldogs.

Corrigan would control time of possession for most of the third quarter and beyond. Also, be able to counter two late scores from Buna.

“I told the guys I wanted a long, hard and physical drive [to start the second half.] It banged us up a little bit too, but it took ten minutes off the clock and we got a touchdown to go up [three scores,]” Ratliff said. “We breathed a little too much after that…They popped two touchdowns in and put us in a bind. We just have to relax like we did at the end and finish it out.”

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