MIDDLEBOURNE - It was a tale of two halves when it came to Doddridge's 26-12 victory against Tyler Consolidated at Knights Stadium.
The Bulldogs (2-0) were held scoreless in the first two quarters of play against the Silver Knights (0-2) as the turnover bug continued to bite Doddridge as it committed three turnovers in the first half.
Then Tyler Consolidated got a dose of the turnovers.
Silver Knights’ QB Cole Kocher (2) tries to escape from
Bulldogs’ Josh Bee (70) on Friday night.
''We let an opportunity get away from us,'' Knights coach Ryan Walton said. ''They played physical and never quite. They capitalized on mistakes.''
After Tyler Consolidated running back Jacob Highley ripped off a 53-yard run to start the third quarter, quarterback Cole Kocher was intercepted during a fourth-down play and Doddridge took full advantage.
The Bulldogs marched down the field 77 yards in 12 plays and punched the ball in the end zone on a David Lipscomb QB sneak to tie the game.
Issac Britton's kick was good and Doddridge took its first lead at 7-6.
Two plays later, Kocher threw his second pick of the day, this one to Jarrod Sandy, who raced 56 yards to give the Bulldogs a 14-6 lead with 47 seconds remaining in the third.
The Knights miscues continued as Jordan Baker, who came in to replace Kocher, fumbled the ball on the next possesion. Lipscomb picked up the loose ball and returned it 55 yards for another Bulldogs touchdown.
''The turnovers for points were the turning point of the game,'' Doddridge coach Bobby Burnside said. ''They gave us momentum and we were able to run the ball.''
Tyler Consolidated didn't lay down, however.
After holding the Bulldogs on third down, the Knights moved the ball, with help from a Highley 55-yard run, as Kocher was able to punch it in from a yard away to bring Tyler to within six at 20-12.
That would be as close as it would get for the Knights, though, as they were unable to slow down the Bulldogs two-headed monster of Wyatt Ford and Sandy as the two combined for every yard of Doddridge's final drive that consisted of 11 plays and was capped by a Sandy 8-yard touchdown run with 16 second remaining.
''That's football for you,'' Walton said. ''Sometimes the ball bounces for you, sometimes it doesn't.''
It did in the first half for Tyler.
On the fourth play of the game, Doddridge was forced to punt as it faced a fourth-and-10, but the punter's kick hit off the back of one of his teammates' helmet and rolled out of bounds at the Bulldogs' own 13-yard line.
Two plays later, Highley was in the end zone as the Knights took a 6-0 lead with 9:18 still to play in the opening quarter.
''What can you say? That's all on us,'' Burnside said. ''We set them up around the 10 and they score. You can't start out much worse than that.''
True, but it didn't get much better for the Bulldogs.
After that blocked punt, Doddridge's drives consisted of two lost fumbles, an interception and another punt.
One thing the Bulldogs did do well in the first half is they kept the Knights out of the end zone despite Tyler playing most of the first two quarters in Doddridge territory.
''We had opportunities, we just didn't finish,'' Walton said. ''That's what it comes down to. You move the ball up and down the field, but you have to cross the goal line to score points to win the ball game.''
Highley led the Knights with 154 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown, while Ford was the Bulldogs leading rusher with 121 yards on 27 carries with Sandy adding 106 all-purpose yards and a score.