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Bulldogs Win First District Game at Home in Five Years

Senior+Landon+Ventura+makes+a+move+on+a+Taylor+defender+in+the+Bulldog%27s+win+against+the+Ducks+last+week.+Ventura+eclipsed+100+yards+for+the+first+time+this+season+in+the+win.
Senior Landon Ventura makes a move on a Taylor defender in the Bulldog's win against the Ducks last week. Ventura eclipsed 100 yards for the first time this season in the win.

Senior Landon Ventura makes a move on a Taylor defender in the Bulldog's win against the Ducks last week. Ventura eclipsed 100 yards for the first time this season in the win.

Ashley Skinner

Ashley Skinner

Senior Landon Ventura makes a move on a Taylor defender in the Bulldog's win against the Ducks last week. Ventura eclipsed 100 yards for the first time this season in the win.

Brady Keane, Sports Editor

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For the first time since 2009, the Bulldogs came up with a district win at Bulldog Stadium, while picking up their fourth win of the 2014 season in a 31-14 win over the Taylor Ducks.

“It was a big win for Bulldog Nation,” senior quarterback Joe Rodriguez said. “But we’re not satisfied. Everyone has their mind set on making playoffs, and that is what we are working towards.”

The game started off as a defensive battle in the first quarter, as neither offense was able to get going early in the game. However, the Bulldogs were able to ignite in the first half with a trick play that saw backup quarterback Utah Hicks connect with senior Noah Nelson on an 11-yard touchdown.

The first touchdown opened things up for the Bulldog offense, as Rodriguez then connected with senior Averie Mansfield only 13 plays later for a 39-yard touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 13-7 lead going into halftime.

“Getting off to a fast start takes pressure off of both the offense and the defense,” senior cornerback Calvin Bankston said. “It’s important for us to start fast and finish strong.”

From there, the Bulldog offense continued to build off of the success of the hard hitting defensive effort that was led by Mansfield and senior Nick Andreas. While the defense forced three-and-outs on multiple drives, the offense methodically moved the ball down the field behind the hard running of senior Landon Ventura.

Ventura piled on 100+ yards for the first time this season in the win, and would have cleared 200 yards on the ground if it had not been for multiple long runs that were called back in the second half. Nonetheless, Rodriguez continued to excel in district play for the Bulldogs, and connected with Nelson and senior Kyle Bauml in the second half for touchdowns of 34 and 29-yards respectively.

Although the Bulldogs dominated for much of the game, the door wasn’t closed until late in the fourth quarter when sophomore Terrence Harvey punched in a one-yard touchdown for his first score of the season.

“It felt great to get into the endzone for the first time, and I was grateful for the opportunity,” Harvey said. “It felt good to see all of the hard work pay off.”

The Bulldog’s win rejuvenated a team that had lost by narrow margins to both Fredericksburg and Canyon Lake in the prior weeks, and now with two games remaining in the season, the Bulldogs have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs for the first time in 5 years.

The quest for that playoff position will continue this week as the Bulldogs will travel down the road to face the rival Boerne Greyhounds in one of the biggest games of the district season. Bandera will be looking to build on last season’s 35-23 win in Boerne, although this year the Greyhounds have 4-Star quarterback and Tennessee commit Quinten Dormady back at the helm of the offense.

This week’s rivalry matchup will be a battle of the top two passing attacks in District 14-4A, as each team will look to exploit the opposing defense through the air. The Bulldogs have traditionally exercised a more balanced attack offensively thus far this season, and will look to incorporate Ventura and Harvey as well as senior Alex Willoughby-Gonzales into both the rushing and passing attacks.

“It’s always a big rivalry game when we play Boerne,” Ventura said. “We came up with a big win in Boerne last season, and we’re going to do whatever we can to ensure that we can come out on top with another win.”

Kick off in Boerne is set for 7:30 this Friday night.

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Bulldogs Win First District Game at Home in Five Years