The Lexington Bulldogs bent but didn’t break on the road during a 34-26 win over the Star Spencer Bobcats.
Lexington is now 3-2 overall and 2-0 in District 2A-7 with the win, behind only Washington and Millwood.
The ‘Dawgs scored the first touchdown. Quarterback Colton Penner pushed the ball to the 38-yard line for a first down with 4:33 left in the first quarter.
Then, Penner found receiver Jaylen Cottrell for a reception to the Bobcats’ 2-yard line. Destrie Shea punched the ball in for a touchdown and Nathan Clegg ran for a two-point conversion for an 8-0 Lexington lead.
Star Spencer quickly answered back. A nifty 52-yard touchdown pass cut the lead to 8-6 in favor of the ‘Dawgs.
With 9:43 left in the second quarter, Jackson again tossed a nice pass to one of his receivers for a 19-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion was no good, but it gave Star Spencer a 12-8 lead.
Lexington took the lead again when Penner found Cottrell open for an 18-yard touchdown reception. The two-point conversion was no good, but the score gave the ‘Dawgs a 14-12 lead.
Star Spencer took the lead, 20-14, into the locker room at halftime. Jackson scored on a quarterback keeper with 31 seconds left in the period. This time, the two-point conversion by the Bobcats was good and gave them the advantage.
“It is a very strange game,” Berglan said after the first half. “It’s been a game of ups and downs so far. We make a few good plays and then we have penalties. We mess up somewhere, somehow. We’re running the ball well at times but not sticking our blocks at other times.
“Our passing game is working but they have to respect our running game. We just have to toughen up defensively. When they need to make a play on offense, they are making them. We got to do a better job of that and shore things up on defense.”
In the third quarter, Star Spencer scored again on a 6-yard run by Jackson with 7:02 left in the period. The conversion was no good, however, leaving the Bobcats with a 26-14 lead.
Lexington came back as Cottrell caught a 22-yard pass from Penner in the end zone. The two-point conversion was no good but the ‘Dawgs cut the Bobcats’ lead to 26-20 with 6:30 left in the third quarter.
A 40-yard touchdown pass from Penner to Cottrell with 7:55 to go in the fourth quarter tied the game at 26-26. Shea scored the game winner with a 16-yard touchdown run and Penner ran it in for a two-point conversion, making the final score 34-26 in favor of Lexington.
“Destrie Shea did a great job,” Berglan said of Shea, a junior fullback. “We were running heavy to the right and they shifted to the right. So, we came back to the left and he went in untouched on his second touchdown. He was just fantastic tonight.
“Fullback is kind of an unheralded position on the field but he’s a weapon for us. He’s not just a blocking back. He’s an actual weapon.”
Star Spencer rushed the ball 36 times for 131 yards. The Bobcats were 10 of 21 passing for 170 yards and they threw two interceptions.
Meanwhile, the ‘Dawgs rushed 33 times for 85 yards. Overall, Star Spencer had 57 plays for 301 yards in total offense. Lexington had 54 plays for 426 yards.
Penner had his best game so far this season. He completed 14 of 21 passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Cottrell was his favorite target. Cottrell had 10 receptions for 254 yards and three TDs.
“The composure that Colton Penner gains each week is valuable,” Berglan said. “He made some big plays tonight and he and Jaylen did such a good job of reading each other and adjusting the routes. They communicate well about what the opposing defense is doing. We’re getting there slowly but surely.”
Berglan was pleased with the win. He blamed himself, however, for the close call.
“We won despite the head coach making too many bone-headed calls,” Berglan said of himself. “I didn’t have a very good game tonight calling plays inside the red zone and such. But, our guys were able to overcome that. It was my fault but I’m glad they were able to come out with the victory. Star Spencer is a good team but we hit them in the mouth in the second half.
“We made big play after big play. When they went up two touchdowns on us, there wasn’t a worried player on our team. We just continued to execute and made big plays. The line did a good job of blocking and, defensively, we made the stops we needed to in the second half that we didn’t make in the first half.”
Lexington plays at 7 p.m. on Friday against district foe Stratford for homecoming. Stratford is 2-2 overall and 1-1 in district play.
Head coach Dale Berglan nominated Cameron Conner for the Offensive Lineman Player of the Week. Conner graded out at 84-percent.
Berglan nominated Lane Jeffery for Defensive Lineman Player of the Week as Jeffery had four tackles against Star Spencer.
The Offensive Player of the Week for Lexington is Colton Penner, who was 14-of-21 passing with three touchdowns and 341 yards.
The Defensive Player of the Week for the ‘Dawgs was Kyston Wheat, who had a whopping 17 tackles against the Bobcats last Friday.