The Blue Devils leaned heavily on junior running back Anfernee Dukes, who ran the ball 21 times for 106 yards.
Dukes scored Notasulga’s only offensive touchdown of the game on the team’s opening possession, a five-play, 65-yard drive lasting less than two minutes. Kicker Sergio Tirado Huerta drove home the extra point to give the Blue Devils a 7-0 lead over the Bulldogs.
Winterboro’s opening possession lasted for 5 seconds after freshman quarterback Clay Twyman fumbled the snap. Notasulga’s defense recovered the ball on Winterboro’s 14-yard line.
Two plays later, Blue Devils sophomore quarterback Robert Surge mishandled a snap, recovered the football and promptly lost control again after being swarmed by Winterboro defenders. Bulldogs junior Deshawn Garrett picked up the football and returned the fumble 49 yards, setting up Winterboro’s second offensive possession.
Garrett finished what he started by hammering in a two-yard touchdown run. Jutorrius Cook nailed the extra point to pull the game even, 7-7.
On the very next play, Winterboro attempted to kick the football away from Blue Devils senior wide receiver Martavious Brown. The attempt failed as the kick went straight into the hands of Brown and 64 yards in the opposite direction for a touchdown. Tirado Huerta tacked on the extra point to give Notasulga the 14-7 lead over Winterboro.
“We were trying to kick away from him,” Bulldogs head coach Alan Beckett said. “The plan, what we worked on all week, was to kick away from him, but we kicked it straight to the guy we wanted to keep it away from, and he took it straight to the house. That was a big play, because otherwise we did a pretty good job defensively.”
The Bulldogs received multiple opportunities to get back into the game, but penalties and miscues continued to plague the winless program.
Before the end of the first half, a scoring opportunity for Winterboro fell short after a touchdown pass from Twyman to senior Cedric McKenzie was nullified by offsetting penalties.
On their opening second half possession, Winterboro mounted a 10-play, 44-yard drive that ended with an overthrown pass by Twyman, turning the balling over on downs at the Blue Devils’ 29-yard line.
Winterboro’s defense, led by junior defensive lineman B.J. Twyman, put up a solid effort trying to limit Notasulga’s offense, forcing two three-and-outs during the fourth quarter.
The first three-and-out was negated by McKenzie’s muffed punt return, giving Notasulga the ball back at their own 47-yard line with 5:26 left in the fourth quarter. The second three-and-out resulted in a fumbled punt snap, putting Winterboro on the Notasulga 44-yard line.
The final comeback opportunity was short-lived, as back-to-back plays resulted in a Twyman sack by Blue Devils’ defensive lineman Randy Robinson and an intercepted pass by Blue Devils’ junior Khalil Jones.
Winterboro remains winless at 0-8, but their team continues to fight for Beckett.
“I thought they played really hard,” Beckett said. “It’s not easy, when you haven’t won a game, to not show up or want to pack it in. Coach James Player spoke to our team before the game. I thought he did a real good job today in what he said, and it kind of caught the players’ attention. I’m really proud of our seniors for not laying down. They’re still playing, and they’re playing harder than anybody.”
Notasulga keeps their playoff hopes alive as they move to 4-4 on the season.
“Let me tell you something, we’ve got the target on our backs,” Blue Devils head coach James Lucas said. “We’re the regional champs from last year and everybody’s going to play their best game against us. The only thing about our team is that we’re young. We’re very young. We’ve got five seniors and a lot of underclassmen. They’ve just got to go through the growing pains. We expected this to be a dogfight. We didn’t expect this to be a blowout.”
Contact Shane Dunaway at firstname.lastname@example.org