It was a heartbreaker for new Head Coach Greg Purdum and the Louisiana Bulldogs football squad when the South Shelby Cardinals beat them at the buzzer with a field goal to win, 23-20, Friday, Aug. 30.
The 27-yard, game-winning kick from the Cardinals’ Derek Lorey was set up by a roughing the passer penalty. It was one of 11 on the night that lost 80 yards for the Bulldogs and prevented them from pulling off a season-opening upset.
But it wasn’t all negative for Louisiana by any means.
“I was very pleased, especially in the second half,” Purdum said. “I told them there are two kinds of football players, guys who get hit and guys that do the hitting.
“They came out believing that in the second half and we were doing the hitting. We learned a lot and came along way for the first ball game,” Purdum added. “We’ll get better every week because they now understand what it takes.
“We started attacking in the second half (with the 46 defense) and the lanes shut down,” Purdum said. “They understand now.”
The team also found a keeper at quarterback in sophomore Zach Richardson.
Richardson was six for 16 on the night for two touchdowns and ran one in himself from the four in the third quarter.
Richardson hit speedy junior wide receiver Elijah Oblinger with a 13-yard scoring strike to knot the game at 6-6 in the second quarter. It stayed that way for the half and South Shelby struck first in the third quarter on a 37-yard scamper. The two-point conversion made it 14-6 at 11:19.
The Bulldogs came right back when Richardson hit senior tight end Tristan Castiglia, who ran (who turned a short pass into a) for a 53-yard score. The two-point conversion failed and it was 14-12 Cardinals.
Richardson scored on his run at the 1:11 of the third quarter, giving Louisiana a 18-14 after the extra point attempt was unsuccessful.
The Bulldogs pushed the lead to 20-14 at the 8:59 mark of the fourth quarter when junior defensive tackle Rick Love tackled a Cardinals back in the end zone for a safety.
South Shelby came roaring back with a 25-yard touchdown and tied it 20-20 with the two-point conversion failing.
It looked like the game might go to overtime but a short Louisiana punt and the roughing the passer penalty set up Lorey’s kick with one-tenth of a second to go.
Senior running back Brycen Cropp had 79 yards on 21 carries for the Bulldogs. Brothers Austin Rule, a senior, and sophomore Lane Rule combined for 97 yards on 14 rushes.
Oblinger snagged four passes for 52 yards and his score.
The Bulldogs will play their first home game of the season at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6 against the Clark County Indians. Clark County is the defending Clarence Cannon Conference champion.