By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

WOODVILLE – The 2018 UIL Football Playoffs opened on Thursday night, Nov. 15 and in the Bi-district round of Class 3A DI, the Crockett Bulldogs traveled to Woodville to take on the East Chambers Buccaneers.

The game featured a tremendous amount of offense and very little defense from either team as the halftime score was 47-41, in favor of East Chambers. By the end of the game, however, the Bucs simply outlasted the Dawgs as they pulled away to win by a final of 82-54.

The game was a track meet to say the least. The score was more similar to a basketball tilt, rather than a gridiron battle and the scoring began early.

On the first play from scrimmage, East Chambers running back Ernest Ceasar broke free for a 77-yard gain down to the 13 of Crockett. Two plays later, the Bucs’ Nolton Shelvin found a crease in the Crockett defense and slipped into the end zone for six.

The Dawgs went nowhere on their first possession and were forced to punt. East Chambers took possession on their own 26 and once again, it didn’t take them long to find the end zone.

Shelvin picked up 19 yards on first down and then broke off a 55-yard scoring run at the 9:19 mark of the first quarter. The extra point by Jose Chavez was good as the Bucs took an early 13-0 lead.

On the ensuing possession, Crockett seemed to find their offense but an interception of a Jordan Bedford pass gave East Chambers the ball on their own 32. Following a three yard gain by Ceasar, Bucs’ QB Kam Smith connected with wide-out Kordell David for 65-yard scoring strike which made the score 19-0, with 6:20 left in the first.

Crockett finally broke into the scoring column on their next possession with a sustained drive. Starting at their own 30, Joshua Hudson picked up 12. Bedford followed with 13 yard pickup and then connected with Allen Horace for 14 more. Malik Johnson plowed his way down to the 20 and then Bedford found Demarcus Richardson on a swing pass that Richardson took to the house for the Dawgs first score.

The Bucs answered the Crockett score quickly as Shelvin picked up 10, followed by a 45-yard TD gallop by Smith. The extra point by Cruz was good and with 3:35 left in the first period, the score was 26-6.

Crockett finally decided they wanted to play and struck back. Johnson picked up two on first down and then Bedford broke free on a 46-yard run to move the ball to the Bucs’ 16. The Dawgs worked their way down to the eight and faced a fourth and two situation. Fortunately, East Chambers bailed out Crockett with a defensive holding call to give the Dawgs a first and goal at the four.

On the next play, Hudson broke over the right side of the line for a four yard TD. Antonio Cruz converted the PAT and with 55 seconds left in the opening period, Crockett had cut the lead to 26-13.

An onside kick by Crockett gave the Dawgs the ball at midfield and they didn’t squander the opportunity. On third and 11 from the 49, Bedford found Cristian Brice for a 17-yard reception.

Next, the Crockett QB connected with Johnson for nine yards and Horace for 10 more. Faced with a third and goal from just inside the 10, Bedford kept it and bulled his way across the goa line for a touchdown. Cruz knocked the extra point home and with 8:59 left in the half Crockett had cut the lead to 26-20.

Just when the Dawgs seemed to gain momentum, the Bucs snatched it back. On the ensuing kickoff Ceasar fielded the ball at his own 13, made the first guy miss and then took off for an 87-yard kick return for a touchdown. The Chavez PAT made the score 33-20 with 8:46 left in the half.

The Bucs’ extended their lead on Crockett’s next play from scrimmage. A fumble by the Crockett ball carrier was scooped up by the Bucs’ Christian Simien at the 27-yard line and returned for six.

The Bulldogs fought back, however. Starting on their own 39, Bedford led his team on a 61 –yard scoring drive, capped off by a Johnson 11-yard TD run. Cruz knocked the extra point through the uprights to cut the lead to 40-27 with 6:04 left in the half.

The Dawgs tried another onside kick and surprisingly, it worked again. Joseph Porter picked up eight yards on first down and added two more on second. Bedford chipped in seven more on the ground and then connected with Horace for a 33-yard scoring strike. The extra point by Cruz was good and with 4:44 left in the half, the Dawgs were back in the game and only trailed by six.

A third onside kick attempt by Crockett was unsuccessful and gave the Bucs the ball at their own 46. Smith connected on consecutive passes to move the ball into Crockett territory and then three straight runs by Ceasar put the Bucs back in the end zone. The PAT was good and with 1:53 left in the half, East Chambers led by a score of 47-34.

On their next possession, Crockett wasted little time. Bedford found Richardson for 23 yards on first down and then Johnson picked up six, down to the 38. From there, Bedford found Horace for a 38-yard TD to cut the lead to 47-41 after the XP.

The Dawgs had a chance to take the lead shortly before halftime. East Chambers next possession started at their own 26. After a one yard gain by Shelvin, Smith was picked off by Brice at the 35. A facemask penalty moved the ball to the 20 and Crockett was in business with 42 seconds left in the second quarter.

On third and 10, Horace hauled in a Bedford pass for 17 yards to give the Dawgs first and goal at the three with 20 seconds. Unfortunately, Crockett was not able to get any further as the half ended with East Chambers ahead 47-41.

The Dawgs opened the second half with possession of the ball but a fumble gave it right back to East Chambers. The Bucs stayed on the ground and with 9:44 left in the third, Smith broke free for a 24-yard TD as the PAT made the score 54-41.

Crockett battled back once again. Starting at their own 32, Bedford connected with Horace for 16. Johnson broke free for a 25-yard gain. The QB then found Richardson for 13 yards and after a penalty, Bedford found Brice for a 12-yard TD to make the score 54-47.

The Bucs next possession ended when Demuntreon Bedford picked off a Smith pass at the Crockett 34. It seemed like the Dawgs might finally tie things up or take the lead, but it was not meant to be as the Dawgs were forced to punt.

A good roll on the AJ Owens punt put the Bucs at their own 13. They quickly flipped the field as Ceasar broke off a 71-yard run and then blasted his way across the goal from two yards out to make the score 61-47 after the PAT.

Crockett tried to rally after that and managed to get down to the East Chambers 17 on their next possession, but turned the ball over on downs.

From there, the Bucs put the game away as they scored the next three times they had the ball to open up an 82-47 lead.

The Dawgs added a late touchdown when Bedford connected with Shannon Bacon for a seven yard TD, but it was too little, too late as East Chambers hung on to win by a final score of 82-54.

The loss ends the Crockett Bulldogs season with a record of 7-4.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.