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Game 3 vs. Mount Pleasant

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Arterberry Guides Bulldogs to 42-38 Last Minute Win
By Bobby Summers
When one of your starting linebackers becomes your starting quarterback, most football fans would think that your team is in deep trouble. That is exactly what a nearly packed Royse City ISD Stadium was thinking last Friday night when the Bulldogs hosted the East Texas powerhouse Mt. Pleasant Tigers.
For the past three years the Royse City community and fans were use to seeing their championship football team being led by All-State quarterback Richard Morrison. But instead of seeing number 5 take the snaps from center on the first series of plays, they saw number 4. For those familiar with what number 4 can do, were not worried in the least.
Because of a mild injury, Morrison’s status was guarded as questionable prior to the game with the Tigers. Coach Greg Strahm made a last minute decision to sideline Morrison and start reserve quarterback Scotty Arterberry.
It has been awhile since Arterberry has been a Royse City quarterback. Two years to be exact. Not since his junior varsity days has Arterberry started on an offensive position. You certainly could not tell it as the senior led the Bulldogs to a 42-38 come from behind dramatic victory.
Arterberry completed 8 of the 16 passes he threw for 150 yards and he rushed for 138 yards on 31carries. One of those passes was for a touchdown and three of those carries were touchdown runs. Not a bad night for an outside linebacker wouldn’t you say.
Arterberry scored the first touchdown on a one yard run, three minutes deep into the first quarter. The touchdown capped off the opening drive of 80 yards in 8 plays. Kollin Padon kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead.
Mt. Pleasant moved the ball well, but a failed fake punt stopped the Tigers first drive in the game.
The Tigers Roman Hurndon picked off an early Arterberry pass at the Bulldog 42 yard line, but on the very next play the Bulldog defense made up for the pick with a fumble recovery by Cameron Nichols.
Mt. Pleasant managed to get on the board at the 7:07 mark of the second period when Carlos Martinez kicked a 33 yard field goal to cap off an 11 play 67 yard scoring drive.
The Bulldogs suffered a huge blow to their defense on that drive as Cameron Nichols was knocked unconscious on a devastatingly hard hit on a Tiger runner. Nichols missed the remainder of the game with the injury and the Bulldogs had to kick it up another notch to contain the Mt. Pleasant running attack.
With 1:26 remaining in the first half, the Bulldogs offense struck again following a 22 yard pass completion to J.T. Thompson. With the ball on the 8 yard line, the call went to Frank Dave and the Royse City tailback bulled his way in for the second Bulldog touchdown of the game. The PAT failed and the Bulldogs led 13-3.
The Bulldog offense can strike in a heartbeat and that is just about what they did. With 24 seconds remaining in the half the Bulldogs regained control. A little trickery was involved as Arterberry tossed the ball to his tailback which in turn threw the ball back to Arterberry and then ran the ball down to the Tiger two yard line with :07 remaining on the clock. Arterberry then tucked the ball on the keeper and waltzed into the end zone for the touchdown. Arterberry tossed a two point conversion pass to Frank Dave and the Bulldogs were sitting on a 21-3 halftime lead.
That last second touchdown could have been the difference maker in the game.
When the second half opened, the Tigers came out at full throttle and caught the Bulldogs flat footed. Tiger quarterback Terrell Howard must have received a wake up call during the halftime ceremonies, because he marched his team 55 yards in just 4 plays to score. Howard carried the rock the final 20 yards for the touchdown. The point after was good. With 10:59 to play in the third period, the Tigers trailed 21-10.
Without a doubt the third quarter belonged to Mt. Pleasant. The Tiger defense got into the scoring when Taboris Hooks picked up a loose Bulldog fumble and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown. Martinez kick was good and the Tigers trailed 21-17 with 9:30 to play in the third.
The Tigers took just seven plays to travel 71 yards in their next scoring drive. It was Howard again doing the honors as he crashed through the Bulldog defense on a 22 yard touchdown run. With 5:38 to play in the third period the Bulldog fans were getting a little uneasy as Mt. Pleasant took a 24-21 lead.
When the final period opened the Tigers were on the move again and again it was Terrell Howard doing the damage. Howard moved his team 61 yards in 13 long and grueling plays that consumed nearly five minutes off of the play clock. Howard would score his third of four touchdown runs on a 12 yard scamper. The kick was good and with 10:29 to play in the game, the Bulldogs found themselves down by 10 points.
Trailing 31-21, and just ten and a half minutes left to play, the Bulldogs lit the fuse on their offense. Cool, calm and collectively the Bulldogs followed Arterberry’s lead and cut through the Tiger defense. A 22 yard pass completion to Justin Jacobs set up the nine yard touchdown pass to Jabcobs with 7:42 to play in the game. Padon’s kick was good as the Bulldogs pulled within a field goal trailing 31-28.
The ensuing kickoff sent the Tigers to midfield and well within striking distance again. However, the way this game was going back and forth, you could just feel that a big play was about to evolve. That play came with 5:54 to play in the game when All-State Bulldog linebacker Oscar Hernandez made his second pass interception of the season at the Royse City 39 yard line.
That was just enough spark to ignite another Bulldog scoring drive. It took Royse City just four plays to travel the 61 yards. The touchdown run by junior tailback Ryan Fedric may have been one of the most determined and exciting touchdown runs this Bulldog crowd has ever seen. Fedric took the handoff at Tiger 25 yard line and twisted, pulled, drug and carried Tigers on his way to score. At least two times Fedric was in the complete grasp of a Tiger defender and somehow he broke free. With 4:46 remaining in the ball game there was absolute hysteria in the Bulldog home stands as Royse City took a 35-31 lead.
Mt. Pleasant had a determined runner of their own and it came in number 12 as Terrell Howard picked up gains of 12 and 10 yards before he went on a 20 yard rampage for another lead change. With 3:09 remaining to be played the wind was taken out of the Bulldog fans sails as the Tigers gained a 38-35 lead.
The ensuing kickoff found the Bulldogs starting on their own 27 yard line. Royse City struggled to get to midfield and faced a fourth down and two yards to go with under two minutes to play. Mt. Pleasant jumped offsides for a 5 yard penalty and life was breathed back into the Bulldog offense.
Bruising tackles on Arterberry and Fedric began to take their toll and both runners and they seemed to be running out of gas. Following a first down run by Fedric to the Tiger 30 yard line, Arterberry called his own number. It was a most determined run by a totally exhausted athlete and Arterberry capped off his night with the game winning touchdown. The 30 yard TD scamper and Padon’s extra point gave the Bulldogs the 42-38 advantage and their second win of the season.