JOSHUA — After trailing for most of the first half, the Everman Bulldogs escaped with a 37-21 victory over the determined but winless Joshua Owls on Friday night at Owl Stadium.
Quarterback Garrett Hoffman and the Joshua offense marched down the field on their opening drive, covering 72 yards on seven plays, and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run by Peyton Williams to take an early 7-0 lead.
The Bulldogs (5-2, 3-1 District 8-4A) answered on their first play from scrimmage with tailback Kierre Crossley taking a handoff 52 yards around the right end before fumbling at the Joshua 4-yard line. The Owls (0-7, 0-4) recovered the ball and stunned the Bulldogs’ defense, grinding 96 yards in 14 plays to go up 14-0.
The Owls’ offense found success with their running game, rolling up 267 rushing yards. Hoffman, who finished with 125 yards on the ground, also led the team with 13 tackles.
“[Hoffman] is a really talented kid,” Everman coach Dale Keeling said. “He has a lot of poise and he was tough on us tonight.”
Everman needed only 33 plays from scrimmage to score its five touchdowns. Receiver Chris Stafford led the Bulldogs with three scores and 239 yards of total offense.
“We played 11 sophomores tonight,” Keeling said. “They’re going to make mistakes, but we’re going to continue to improve.”
An early fourth quarter fumble by Everman gave the Owls the ball at their own 35-yard line, trailing 31-21 with 9:55 remaining. The Bulldogs’ defense stepped up, shutting down Hoffman and ending any hope of a comeback.
Crossley, Everman’s leading rusher, had to be helped off the field in the second quarter and was unable to return.
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