The Culver Bulldogs football team bounced back in a big way beating Colton 29-6, the week after their first loss of the season at Santiam. Both Culver and Colton were 4-1 before the Oct. 10 contest.
In a very tough 2A Tri-River Conference, this was a big game with both teams fighting to secure a spot in the postseason.
Tough, determined, motivated. Those are a few ways to describe the Bulldogs team during their homecoming game victory.
Culver's defense forced Colton to punt on their first possession of the game and the Bulldogs offense took the field. A big run by senior running back Zachary Wiseman put Culver on the 25-yard line.
A few plays later, it was fourth-and-4 for Culver, but a hard count by the Bulldogs made Colton jump offsides, giving Culver a first down. Culver ran the ball for consistent four to five yard runs, until it was first-and-inches on the goal line.
Culver ran a quarterback sneak with senior Justyce Loredo, who made it into the end zone with ease. Anthony Hood made the point after touchdown and the Bulldogs went up 7-0 with 3:26 left in the first quarter.
"Our focus was assignments and doing everything right," Loredo said. "We needed to be what the coach always preaches, which is a surgeon. Do everything perfect the whole time. That's what practice was all about this week and that is what we executed on game night tonight. This game was awesome, it was the best game we have played so far. We were super precise; no one was dogging on each other. Everyone was picking each other up and we scored touchdowns by doing our assignments."
The Bulldogs defense forced another Colton punt and the Bulldogs offense was on the move once again. On second-and-13, a dive by Hunter Augustynovich went to the house for a 47-yard touchdown run. The PAT was missed and the Bulldogs had an early 13-0 lead with 58 second left in the opening quarter.
Culver forced a third punt in a row by Colton and Culver wasted no time putting more points on the scoreboard.
A couple dives and a counter run put the Bulldogs at their own 35-yard line. Culver caught the Colton Vikings off guard with a quick slant pass to Caden Engel, who used his speed to get into the end zone.
Culver took a 19-0 lead over the Vikings with 9:15 left in the second quarter of play.
A few possessions later, Colton found some success with a few quarterback runs by Wyatt Earls, which put the Vikings at their own 35-yard line.
A quick slant pass from Earls to Seth Ethington gave Colton its first touchdown of the game. The 2-point conversion attempt was no good and the Vikings cut the Bulldogs lead down to 19-6 with 4:07 left in the half.
Culver and Colton were both held scoreless the rest of the second quarter and the Bulldogs had a 19-6 lead over Colton at the half.
The Bulldogs started with the ball in the second half and Wiseman and the Culver offense went right to work. Wiseman ran for a 18-yard gain and ran again for a 25-yard gain on the next play, putting Culver on their own 8-yard line.
With the Colton defense focused on Wiseman, the Bulldogs executed on a counter play to senior Coy Aldrich for a touchdown. Culver converted on a 2-point conversion and the Bulldogs took a 27-6 lead with 11:03 left in the third quarter.
"Our offense performed great," Loredo said. "I give it all to them; without them we can't do anything — can't pass, can't run, and they do a great job. We are not that big, but they hold their own for going up against big guys. It was nice."
Near the end of the third quarter, Colton was forced to punt the ball near their own end zone. The Bulldogs brought pressure on the Colton punter and the punt was blocked by Aldrich.
The ball flew into the air and bounced to the back of the end zone, out of bounds, which meant it was a safety and 2 points for Culver. After the third quarter, Culver had a 29-6 lead heading into the last quarter of play.
"The staff got together and the staff does a great job game planning," head coach Shea Little said. "I give it all to the assisted coaches, they kicked tail. I couldn't make the weekend meeting, so they put the game plan together and it was awesome."
"The kids did a great job executing the game plan, but I have great staff and they put a great game plan together," he said. "With the staff I have and the kids showing up to work after a loss, they all did a great job."
Culver and Colton were both held scoreless in the fourth quarter and the Bulldogs came away with a 29-6 victory over the Colton Vikings.
The Bulldogs ended the game with 352 total yards of offense, 102 in the air and 250 on the ground.
Loredo ended the game 5-for-7 with 69 yards and a touchdown, while Anthony Hood went 2-for-4 with 33 yards passing. Wiseman led Culver on the ground with 125 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown. Augustynovich had 85 yards rushing on six carries and one score.
"Our focus this week was to take care of all of our little mistakes, from penalties to turning the ball over, wrong plays formation-wise, our shotgun snaps, just everything," Little said. "We figured if we could take care of our own mistakes, we could see a W and the kids did a great job."
"They could have gone either way after dealing with the adversity we dealt with last week, but they came back on a short week, worked their tails off and it is all on the kids," he said. "They did a great job preparing, showing up to practice with a great attitude and took care of all the little things."
Culver (5-1) moved up in the 2A football ranking to No. 6 and has a small break in action before it takes on last year's state champions and current 5-1, No. 4 ranked Kennedy Trojans.
"If we go into the next two weeks and hit it hard like be have been, we have a good chance to beat Kennedy," said Loredo. "If we really want to and if really want it and keep playing hard like we have been, it will be a good game, a real good game."
Culver travels to Kennedy to take on the Trojans at 7 p.m. Oct. 25.
"We are still going to focus on ourselves and our assignments," said Little. "We need to take care of the little things, like penalties. They are a great team and we believe we can play right with them. We aren't going to be able to have any mistakes and we need to play a physical game."
"It is nice to have two weeks to prepare for that, but at the same time, we are taking things one game at a time and they are our next opponent," he said. "We know they are good, but we believe we are good too and will hang in there right with them. It should be a really good game."
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