Coach John Cooprider’s Bulldogs got off to a rocky start in last Friday night’s game, as the Willows Honkers toppled the Gridley High School football team in their home opener 38-8.
In the first quarter of play, Willows junior kicker Daniel Macias started the scoring for the Honkers with a 28 yard field goal.
With 4:05 left in the first quarter on their own 26 yard line, the Bulldogs punted the ball to the Honkers’ Chris Walters who took off up the sideline virtually untouched, as his blockers placed a number of Bulldogs on their backs.
Again, this time in the second quarter, on their own 20 yard line Gridley senior Mat Scott punted the ball to Walters who took the ball 60 yards for another score.
At the end of the half, senior quarterback Ulises Esparza connected with Walters for a 25 yard touchdown pass.
The Bulldogs looked like they would redeem the 24 unanswered points when junior quarterback Emery Haddy completed a 33 yard pass to junior Shobi Khan, who danced with defenders before being taken down after the buzzer.
Cooprider’s halftime speech may have lit a fire under the Bulldogs’ defense, if for only a moment, as they held the Honkers from scoring during the third quarter of play.
In the 4th quarter, Haddy and the Bulldogs’ offense drove the ball to the Honkers’ 3-yard line. Finally on 4th down, Mat Scott punched the ball in for a 2-yard score with 9:14 left. Haddy connected with Khan for the 2-point conversion.
However, the Honkers immediately fired back when Noah Enns ran past defenders for a 32-yard score. Macias’ PAT was good.
The Honkers drove the ball into the red-zone again with three minutes to go in the game. Junior fullback completed the Honkers’ scoring on a 3-yard run. Macias’ PAT again successful.
Missed tackles and not wrapping up seemed to be the major issue in last Friday’s games, as the Bulldogs allowed the Honkers to rack up 247 rushing yards.
Special teams also seemed to be an area of concern. Willows special teams scored over half of their points.
The Honkers #3—ironically the same number this former Honker wore, although I was at Yuba City—Chris Walters led Willows in scoring with three touchdowns, two on punt returns. For the rest of this story, please pick up a 9/7/12 edition of The Gridley Herald.