The Waldron Sr Bulldogs have had a rough start to 2021. They suffered a loss to Gentry, had their rivalry game against Mansfield canceled, and then lost to Gore with a depleted roster. But you can’t keep a good dog down. Waldron proved that they will take on any challenge and give it their all. The Bulldogs traveled to Atkins on Friday, September 17th with that open challenge mentality which drove them to a 31-16 victory over the Red Devils.
Waldron opened the game up early and kept their paws on the pedal offensively. Led by the rushing attack of Gabino Grano, the Bulldogs shoved the ball down Atkins’s throat with each snap of the ball. Grano had 22 carries and 225 yards with two touchdowns in the game. Those stats for Grano aren’t a typo or smudged either. Grano averaged over 10 yards per carry as the unstoppable running back left the Red Devils praying for mercy. He wasn’t the sole factor of the offense either. The Bulldog’s beefy backfield as a whole put Atkins defense on a diet. Logan Young averaged 8.9 yards per carry off of 10 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown while Matt Brigance, Kason Davis, and Chris Lopez pounded out a combined 50 yards on just 13 carries.
A defensive coach would stack the box with that kind of firepower shooting at them. The problem is, Matt Brigance is a running AND passing quarterback. Brigance might have only completed four passes, but those four passes were holy water on the Red Devils head. Brigance threw for 92 yards and two touchdowns in the game. Even better, those four completions were to four different receivers. Each receiver caught their pass for over five yards each with Bryson Baker leading the receiving core with a 59-yard snag for a touchdown. Logan Young caught his 7-yard pass for a touchdown while Chris Lopez grabbed an 18-yard pass and Peyton Lipham caught an 8-yard pass.
Defensively, Waldron owned the Red Devils’ golden fiddled offense. The Bulldogs had not one, not two, but 11 players rack up both solo and assisted tackles in the game. Players like Peyton Lipham, Chris Lopez, and Logan Young led the way as the trio combined for 9 solo tackles and 10 assists. Trevor Bates had the only turnover in the game when he saw the Devils’ eyes and picked off a pass. In all, 16 Bulldog defenders rounded up 18 solo tackles and 36 assists in the game. The defense was so dominant that Atkins’s final score was late in the 4th quarter.
Head Coach Doug Powell said “It has been a horrible start to the season before Friday night. It has felt like everything has been against us due to quarantines and injuries. We have continued to work with what we have and focus on improving as much as we can. Almost every day of the last week, we gained back at least one kid. Most of them helped tremendously against Atkins. For the first time since the Gentry game, I feel like we have had something positive go our way.” The win was not only big for Waldron but gave momentum for the Bulldogs going into conference play. “I have never been in quicksand, but I would imagine the feelings would be similar. The more you fight and work to get out, the more you sink and suffer. The Atkins game, and in particular the second half, felt like we found a solid bottom or at least a branch. Hopefully, this game will slingshot us toward achieving our goals.”
Waldron will step into their first conference play against a familiar and formidable foe. The Mena Bearcats. The Bulldogs were edged out of the win over Mena last season in a monsoon and haven’t forgotten it yet. Waldron will head south to Bearcat country on Friday, September 24th.