Bulldogs' skid continues at Bunkie

BUNKIE – Almost; that is the word that Iota can use to describe its season.

The Bulldogs have almost won most of their games, but an errant throw, a missed block, a penalty or a turnover has been the difference for the Iota.

Friday night was no different as the Bulldogs fell once again, this time to the Bunkie Panthers by a score of 22-14 in the two teams’ first district tilt. Bunkie improved to 2-4 and picked up its first district 5-2A win while Iota dropped to 0-6, 0-1.

“Our guys are playing hard, it’s just we’re making the wrong mistakes at the wrong time,” said Neal Legé. Bulldogs head coach.

After a quiet first quarter, Bunkie opened the game up with two touchdowns within four minutes and 45 seconds of each other. The first was a 29 yard scramble by Panthers quarterback Herman Dupas. It was the only play of the drive that followed a bad snap and bad punt by the Bulldogs. The ball only moved seven yards and landed on the Iota 29 yard line, giving Bunkie prime field position.

The second touchdown was also thanks to Dupas, this time on defense. The quarterback and defensive back intercepted Thomas Murrell’s only pass of the night and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown. Dupas would also score the two point conversion, building the Panthers lead to 14-0 at halftime.

The second half would prove to be a bit more fortunate for the Bulldogs. Midway through the third quarter, Iota started moving the ball at will thanks to equally big runs by Murrell and Fantroy. Fantroy would cap off the 89-yard, 14-play drive with a five yard run. Murrell’s two point conversion drew the game to within six for Iota.

But Bunkie would answer with another big play in the fourth quarter. Malcolm Jurrell, one of several Bunkie playmakers in the backfield, would score from 66 yards out on a run. It was yet another short, yet productive, outing for Bunkie’s offense.

“We shut them down for the most part tonight,” said Legé, “it was just three big plays that killed us. And it was just enough to beat us.”

Iota would not go down, however, without a fight. Late into the fourth quarter, the Dogs began a drive on the Panthers’ 32 yard line. Iota took advantage of the field position gift and Fantroy scored again, this time from one yard out, which closed off a nine-play drive. The drive showcased Fantroy and Murrell again.

“When we decided we were going to block the right people and do what we set out to do, we marched it up and down the field,” said Legé, “that was our game plan going in and we set out to do it all night long.

“Unfortunately in the first half we blocked all the wrong people.”

With less than three minutes remaining, Iota tried to pick up the onside kick, but a Bulldog touched the ball just short of the magical 10-yard threshold and gave the ball to the Panthers in prime field position. Still, Iota had 26 seconds remaining to attempt a miracle, but still nothing.

With everything that went right for Iota offensively in the second half, the comeback fell short due to two ill-timed interceptions. When Iota wasn’t throwing interceptions, the Bulldogs had to contend with wide open wide receivers being missed.

“We had wide receivers wide open and we missed them then we would try to thread one of the passes right to the receivers and we’d throw a pick instead,” said Legé.

In between Iota’s two touchdowns, the Bulldogs threw one up for grabs deep and Bunkie’s Kelsow Williams picked off JT LeJeune’s pass. It ended a drive that was going well for Iota and had started in good field position—the Iota 46 yard line.

LeJeune would have another interception at the end of the game as Iota threw up the Hail Mary. LeJeune’s night wouldn’t be all bad news as he did complete three of his eight attempted passes for 20 yards. Fantroy was LeJeune’s leading receiver with two grabs for 18 yards. Murrell’s two yard grab was the other reception.

On the ground, Iota had a total of 227 yards. Murrell carried the ball 25 times for 141 yards and Fantroy carried the ball 18 times for 77 yards. Nick Sloane and Michael Thevis’ respective one, one yard and two, one-yard carries capped off Iota’s offensive showing Friday night.

For their part, Bunkie put up a total of 194 yards on offense.

Meanwhile, Bunkie’s Herman Dupas was the star for the Panthers. While only completing two of his passes for 19 yards, the dual threat quarterback picked up 101 yards on the ground through only 12 carries. He was followed by Jurrell’s 74 yards on 13 carries and Tonnie Wells’ four carries for 25 yards. Keethan Washington’s 15 yard grab was the biggest gain in the air for Bunkie. The remaining 11 yards came from Keethan Washington (three carries, seven yards) and Williams’ two carries for four yards. In the air, Washington also had a grab for four yards.

After two straight weeks on the rode Iota will return home next week to face Oakdale in the teams’ second district game.

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