The St. Clair Bulldogs (2-0) used a ball control offense, a stingy defense and great special teams play to defeat the Potosi Trojans (1-1) Friday night at home, 23-6.
St. Clair Head Coach Brian Robbins is proud of what he sees in his young team and the improvements they are making.
“I am really proud of our kids and the effort they play with right now,” said Robbins. “We are an inexperienced and green team that has improved from last week to this week. I am just excited about what we continue to grow and improve on.”
Robbins says it was a total team effort and he is excited about his young ball club.
“Our kids are growing up right before us and it’s fun to see,” said Robbins. “The effort they have given us and how hard they work, we could be 0-2 and I would be pretty excited right now. I know what I am dealing with and I am excited for the boys. Kudos to our kids, they are improving and I can’t emphasize enough how excited I am going forward.”
On the Trojans’ first three possessions, the Bulldog special teams pinned them in at the 11 to start the game, the nine-yard line on the next kick off and the 12 after a punt. Robbins felt that was a big factor in the victory.
“That was big for field position,” said Robbins. “We were able to get the ball back in good field position and contributed to our first two scores.”
St. Clair’s defense stepped up throughout the night and Robbins says his kids never quit.
“I am really proud of our defense,” said Robbins. “They (Potosi) scored on that last play and I pulled the kids to the side afterward when shaking hands. I was just really pleased with the effort and the great job. They stonewalled that guy right there at the goal line, they called him in and that’s fine. It was a fantastic effort by our kids.”
St. Clair travels to Pacific next week to face the Indians (0-2) to open Four Rivers Conference play. Robbins says Coach Clint Anderson of the Indians will have his team ready.
“We have to get ready for the Pacific Indians,” said Robbins. “Coach Anderson and those guys have been running a lot of the same stuff for years and they seem to get better every year, they will be ready to go. I hear good things about Pacific so I will get to enjoy this game about as long as it takes me to walk from the field to the locker room.”
St. Clair’s offense was led by Dalton Thompson who rushed eight times for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Shane Stanfill rushed six times for 33 yards, followed by Lance McCoy nine rushes for 26 yards and a touchdown. Trent Balderson six carries 25 yards rounded out by Landen Roberts two carries eight yards. Roberts converted both two-point conversion on the ground and added a kick for an extra point.
Defensively the Bulldogs were led by Wes Hinson with eight tackles and 14 assists followed by Thompson with six tackles (9 assists). Recording three tackles were Ryan Barrett (12 assists), and Damien McCoy (5 assists).
Players with two tackles were Cole Venable (three assists), Brendyn Stricker (five assists), Lance McCoy (one assist), Dakota Gotsch (two assists) and Lucas Hardin (two assists).
With one tackle each were Balderson (one assist), Mardariries Miles, Wade Hoffman, Stanfill and Wyatt Strothcamp (two assists).
Roberts recorded seven assists on the night.
The Bulldog offense is an old style of football and Robbins says they improved over Week 1 but still have a long way to go.
“Our offense improved from last week,” said Robbins. “We played a better opponent tonight. We still have a long way to go, but we will continue to grow and continue to build. We are not hitting on all cylinders right now, nor should we be. It’s kind of an old-fashioned smash mouth style, it’s even a little bit different than what we did in the past.”
Robbins knows his team is small in number but he likes what he sees.
“We have a lot of guys going both ways and playing special teams,” said Robbins. “The one thing about our kids is they are never going to back down, they are never going to give up and I am happy to be their coach. It’s good to be 2-0, I don’t think a lot of people thought we would be 2-0 at this point. But conference season starts and it’s a new ball game.”
After St. Clair special team pinned the Trojans inside their 20 at the 11-yard line on the opening kick off the defense forced a three and out. A short punt by Potosi gave the Bulldogs great field position at the Potosi 33.
St. Clair used its ground control offense, driving the 33 yards in 10 plays and scoring on a one-yard run by McCoy. Roberts scored the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead at 3:51 in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs would get another touchdown in the second quarter when Thompson ran it in from five yards out and Roberts converted the two-point conversion to go up 16-0. The score was set up when the Bulldog punt team pinned the Trojans back to their six-yard line. The defense forced another three and out with the Bulldogs getting the ball at the Potosi 41.
The Trojans did not get a first down until eight minutes remained in the half. Potosi was able to drive to the Bulldog 19-yard line before the St. Clair defense made a statement. The defense sniffed out a swing pass and put Potosi back to their 28, then closed out the half with a sack of the Trojan quarterback.
Each team scored once in the second half. St. Clair found the end zone on a 16-yard run by Thompson and added an extra point kick by Roberts. Potosi scored as time ran out, giving the Bulldogs a home victory.