Golden Eagles tame the Bulldogs

Robert Blackford/Editor

The A & R Bulldogs scored first and last in the football team's match with Mercer County Friday, Sept. 11, but the Golden Eagles scored all seven touchdowns between the Bulldog's scores finishing with a 49-13 victory.

Mercer County quarterback Brett Anderson was perfect on the evening completing all 17 of his pass attempts for 238 yards and four touchdowns.

Anderson couldn't remember having a better night. He remembered being perfect completing nine of nine pass attempts before, but nothing like 17 in a row.

"I'd hate to have to defend against Brett," said Mercer County head coach Nat Zunkel. "We will see what we are made of next week against Illini West."

"We'll have to come out a little harder next week," said Anderson. "the line did pretty well tonight. They are improving every week."

A & R got on the board first as quarterback Tyler Waugh completed an eight-yard pass to Kyle Wethers with 8:41 remaining in the first quarter. The touchdown was set up by a 60-yard run by Matt Carlson. Carlson ran for 153 yards on 14 carries for the Bulldogs on the evening.

"They did a fantastic job of cut blocking us," said Zunkel. "After their first couple of drives we improved. Our plan was solid tonight. We had some coaching to do against A & R tonight."

Mercer County scored soon afterward though. Max Parkinson had a 19-yard run to help set up the score. Anderson hit Mason Bush and Ethan Ball for gains of 14 and seven yards on the drive. Then on a third down and five play Anderson completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Michael McClellan. Luke Boucher's extra point gave Mercer County the 7-6 lead with 6:15 remaining in the first quarter.

Anderson went to work on the Golden Eagles next drive firing completions to Kyle Pittman, Ethan Ball and Tanner Benson before hooking up with Mason Bush in the endzone for a five-yard touchdown pass. Mercer County took a 13-6 lead with 10:49 remaining in the second quarter.

On the Bulldogs next possession Golden Eagle Jordan Friedan stepped in front of a screen pass from Waugh to pick up the interception.

"We figured out the play," said Friedan after the game. "I was kind of waiting for it."

On the Golden Eagles next play Anderson hooked up with Bush again for a 37-yard touchdown pass. Anderson completed the two-point conversion run and Mercer County led 21-6.

Jordan Willits put an end to the next Bulldog drive sacking Waugh for a 13- yard loss on third down.

Anderson went to work again on a 79-yard drive ending in Max Parkinson's 10-yard touchdown run at the 3:04 mark. Mercer County went ahead 29-6 after Anderson's conversion run.

The Golden Eagles slipped in another score before halftime at the 1:16 mark. Anderson completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Pittman and Mercer County took a 36-6 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Mercer County defense held again as Ethan Ball sacked Waugh for a 10- yard loss on a third down and four play.

The ensuing Bulldog punt was partially blocked by Tanner Benson and returned 26 yards for a touchdown by Kyle Pittman giving the Golden Eagles a 42-6 lead.

The Golden Eagles final touchdown was set up by an interception by C.J. DeSpain.

The Golden Eagles completed a two-play, eleven-yard drive with a one-yard run by Cameron Muske.

The Bulldogs added a final score with 3:42 remaining when Carlson scored from one yard out.

"We have three or four capable guys we can hand the ball to," said head coach Nat Zunkel after the game. "That makes it hard to defend against us."

Ethan Ball led the squad in tackles with three solo and four assists. Austin Skiles had two solo tackles and five assists. Jordan Willits had four solo tackles and one assist. He had two tackles for losses.

Skiles also led the squad in rushing with 50 yards on five carries, all on one drive. "I really want to thank the other backs," said Skiles. "I try to do the most with the reps I get."

Tanner Benson was the leading receiver with 68 yards followed by Bush, 55; Ball, 54; Pittman, 40 and Michael McClellan, 20.