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The Louisiana Bulldogs set the tone on Senior Night on Friday, Oct. 25 by recovering a fumble on the opening play from the Highland Cougars.
After that the Rule brothers ruled with six touchdowns from a ground attack that produced 341 yards rushing and 17 first downs to thrash Highland.
“The kids played hard,” said Head Coach Greg Purdum.
The Bulldogs defense also stepped up and held Highland to one first down to propel them into the district playoff game at home at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1 against the Paris Coyotes.
“We’ve been talking about playing aggressively on defense and they did that,” Purdum said. “They also couldn’t run on us.”
If Louisiana beats Paris, the Bulldogs will play the winner of the Thursday, Oct. 31 North Shelby, Westran game.
If Westran wins, Louisiana would play there at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 6. If North Shelby wins, the game would be at 7 p.m. Nov. 6 at Louisiana.
The Bulldogs scored right after the initial fumble with 9:34 to go in the first quarter when sophomore quarterback Zach Richardson rolled out to his right and hit senior tight end Tristan Castiglia with a three-yard touchdown toss. Louisiana kicker Brycen Cropp missed the extra point and it was 6-0.
After a Highland three-and-out, Louisiana sophomore running back Lane Rule took a handoff, saw daylight through the left side of the line and sprinted 61 yards for a touchdown with just six minutes gone in the game. Richardson passed to Castiglia on the same rollout play and the two-point catch made it 14-0.
In the second quarter, Louisiana junior defensive back Elijah Oblinger picked off a pass and the Bulldogs were in business on their own 24-yard line. Lane Rule scored his third touchdown with a 2:33 to go in the quarter from two yards out. Cropp’s point after kick was good and the score stood at 21-0.
Senior fullback Austin Rule got into the family touchdown parade with a 35-yard ramble at the 9:45 mark of the second quarter. The extra point play failed and the score was 27-0.
Lane Rule returned the compliment with his third touchdown, a two-yard blast into the end zone with 5:23 to go in the half. He then ran it is as well for two points to make it 35-0.
With just 32 seconds to play in the half, Austin Rule bulled in from the two-yard line. Cropp’s kick make it 42-0.
In the third quarter, Lane Rule ran for his fourth touchdown of the evening, a five-yard trip to the end zone. Cropp’s kick made it 49-0.
With the clock running, Louisiana added yet another touchdown with 3:05 left in the game when Cropp ran an interception in from 37 yards out. With his extra point, the Bulldogs made it 56-0.
Offensively, Lane Rule averaged 11 yards per run with 159 in 15 carries and his four touchdowns. Austin Rule had 68 yards in eight carries for his two touchdowns.
Junior running back Cody Brown added 73 yards on 12 carries and Richardson had 52 yards on seven carries.
Castiglia did a good job of hooking the defensive end all night, Purdum said. Austin Rule and junior running back Dallas Castagna also did a good job springing runners all night, he added.
Defensively, the Bulldogs had seven tackles for losses and allowed only two yards of total offense on the night. The Cougars had to punt six times and lost two fumbles.
As a linebacker, Castagna had a big night with seven tackles to lead the team, including 1 1/2 for a loss.
Austin Rule had 4 1/2 tackles from his linebacker spot and had one for a loss.
Sophomore linebacker Michael Davis had 1 1/2 sacks and 1 1/2 tackles for losses.