SWEENY — Going into the 2019 season, inexperience was a concern for the Sweeny Bulldogs. Friday night, the Bulldogs grew up a little bit.
A defensive stand late in the fourth quarter and a big play on offense a short time later helped the Bulldogs secure a 28-17 victory over Fulshear at Bulldog Stadium.
“Our kids gutted it out. They played hard. I am really happy for them,” Sweeny coach Randy Lynch said. “They have been working so hard. They’ve been hearing the criticism and everything else. They’re growing up.”
The defensive stand came after Fulshear cut Sweeny’s lead to 21-17 on a 40-yard field goal off the toe of Cole Burke.
On the ensuing kickoff, Fulshear’s Grady Pope recovered a fumble at the Bulldog 7 with 9:03 left in the game to put the Chargers in position to take the lead.
The Bulldogs’ defense stonewalled the Fulshear offense and on fourth down forced Charger quarterback Jackson Edge to throw an incomplete pass to take over on downs at their own two-yard line.
“That was awesome. That was so big for them to stop them there. If not, they go up on us and I don’t know how our kids respond to that,” Lynch said. “All of a sudden you have a lead with 5 minutes left and then it just evaporates and you don’t know how they recover from that. That was just a big-time stand.”
A few plays later, Justice Clemons broke loose on an 81-yard touchdown run with 5:03 left in the game to put the Bulldogs up by two scores.
It was part of a three-touchdown night for Clemons, who compiled 243 offensive yards by himself in the contest.
It looked like the Bulldogs would run away with the game early after scoring twice in the first quarter.
With 5:17 remaining in the opening period, Jayden Ward scored on a 43-yard run to put Sweeny up 7-0. The play capped a 53-yard drive. Ward finished the game with 98 yards rushing.
Clemons scored his first touchdown with 3:01 left in the first quarter when he caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trey Robbins. Robbins completed six of his 12 passes for 189 yards against the Chargers.
Just before halftime, Fulshear went on a 78-yard touchdown drive to cut the Sweeny lead in half. Jonathan Davidson caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Edge with 4:25 left in the second quarter to leave the Chargers down 14-7 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Sweeny looked like it extended its lead when Clemons caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from Robbins with 7:20 left in the period. But a holding penalty nullified the score.
Fulshear went on a 75-yard drive that was capped by a 30-yard touchdown run by Edge to tie the game 14-14 with 3:05 left in the third quarter.
Sweeny responded quickly when Clemons caught a 64-yard touchdown pass from Robbins with 2:14 left in the third to put Sweeny up 21-14 heading into the fourth quarter.
Lynch was more pleased with the way his team played this week after a 38-7 loss to Columbia the week before.
“It’s always good to win, there’s no doubt,” Lynch said. “We played a lot better. We executed a little better. We’re getting there. We still missed some opportunities to score.”
Sweeny (2-2) takes on Bellville next week at home for homecoming.