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Doddridge dominates showdown with Roane

Photo by Joe Albright Doddridge County defenders, led by Riley Curran, gang tackle Roane County return man Ethan Collins during a high school football game Friday night in West Union.

WEST UNION — In the first meeting between Little Kanawha Conference teams Doddridge County and Roane County, it was the Bulldogs coming out on top.

Gabe Stewart caught two touchdown passes, the defense recovered three Raider fumbles, and the Bulldogs stayed undefeated with a 44-16 win over Class AA’s No. 7 rated team. The win also gave Bobby Burnside’s team a whopping 16 points toward its WVSSAC rating. They picked up nine for beating a AA team, then seven bonus points thanks to the Raiders seven wins.

“We were very focused and very driven,” Burnside said. “And you can be motivated, but in the end, it comes down to execution and I think they really made sure they did their assignments tonight. They had a great fire off, played physically and I am really proud of them.”

It’ll be a long trip back to Spencer for Roane County. This wasn’t the outcome the Raiders had in mind. Coming into this game, Paul Burdette’s team had run the ball at will behind a monster line and the legs of Skyler Delk and Briar Begler. The two, who usually combine for over 200 yards, were held to 173 stripes. Most of Delk’s 68 yards came on his 50-yard scoring run in the second quarter. Begler found a bit more success with his 103 yards on 18 carries, but the duo only found the end zone rushing one time.

Their other score proved big, though.

The Raiders pulled within 28-16 after Begler hauled in a 14-yard pass and the attempt pass from teammate Shadraq Greathouse with 6:34 left in the third period. Yet, the defense couldn’t keep the Bulldogs out of the end zone. The home team scored the last 17 points of the game.

“We haven’t been used to battling behind for quite a while,” Burdette said. “We expected Doddridge to be a good football team like they are, and when you aren’t used to coming back, it changes things.”

Mostly, the Doddridge County bravado really forced the Raiders out of their power running game. The Bulldogs’ defensive line gobbled up most runs from Delk and Begler, making the Raiders get creative. Stretching runs away from the offensive line didn’t go in favor of the Raiders most of the evening. Dave “Bear” Burnside’s defense received big kudos from their coach.

“We knew we were going to be in a battle from the get go,” he said. “I am just proud of the way our guys stepped up. I think we played physical. That is where we laid our hat, they bent a little but didn’t break, but this is a good team, this was a good challenge for us. And I really liked the way the defense came out and played tonight.”

That was the case on both sides of the ball.

Doddridge County jumped out to an early 14-0 lead by keeping the Raiders guessing. Burnside’s group combined the run and pass in an unusual combination for two scores.

After the Raiders gifted them fifteen yards on a personal foul, they went to work in the early in the first quarter. Seth Richards lost two yards on the first play, but a 10-yard penalty from Roane pushed the ball down the field. Three plays later, Jones bounced off the left guard and scored on a 2-yard quarterback keeper for a quick 7-0 lead after a John Devinney kick.

Roane picked up one first down on the ensuing drive when Shadraq Greathouse found Delk for a 36-yard gain that moved the ball from the Raider’s 35 to the Bulldogs 39. Jaycent Ash made sure the success didn’t last. The Bulldog linebacker burst through the middle and sacked Greathouse for a 10-yard loss, forcing the Raiders to punt.

Following a Roane punt, Jones, Knight and Richards largely ran the Bulldogs to the Raiders’ 27-yard line on fourth-and-three. Burnside, who has an accurate kicker in John Devinney, kept the offense on the field. His gamble paid off. Gabe Stewart, who scored the big touchdown in the Ritchie County game, then hauled in a 27-yard pass from Jones for a 14-0 DC lead.

The two teams traded punts before Roane County got something cooking on its fourth drive of the game. Briar Begler picked up six yards on the ground before Delk broke free up the heart of the Doddridge County defense for a 50-yard touchdown run. Greathouse’s pass to Colton Paxton made the score 14-8 with 4:02 left in the half.

Knight finished the evening with 140 yards on 23 attempts. Meanwhile, Jones scored or contributed to five of the Bulldogs’ six touchdowns.

The win now sets up the Bulldogs for a monster meeting with Williamstown next week in Wood County. The Yellowjackets lost to Fort Frye, and likely need a win to stay in the hunt for a home playoff game. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs could move back up to the No. 1 spot in the ratings because of this victory.

Burnside and company are 3-0 against the Yellowjackets in their last trio of meetings, two regular-season and one state semifinal victory.

Roane County, meanwhile, travels to Ravenswood looking to get back on track. Burdette and company probably won’t be hosting a home playoff game unless certain things unravel in the classification. They won’t get many points from beating Ravenswood and Sissonville teams with a combined one win.

“Everything is still in front of us, we have to go back, we have to recuperate and we have to have a big response,” Burdette said.

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