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Two plays made the difference for the Bulldogs in a nine-point swing that gave Amory the 30-21 win on Friday.
“That’s the difference in the ball game; they had two big plays, we had none and we lose by nine points,” New Albany Head Coach Ron Price said. “Good teams learn to win big games like this, and this was a big 4A game and test for both teams. Amory came through tonight and made the plays when they needed to, and we were just a step slow.”
The Bulldogs struck first four minutes into the game with Spencer Day finding Kachius Clay, making it 7-0. On New Albany’s next offensive possession, they were pinned inside their own one-yard line on an Amory punt. That drive resulted in a safety for the Panthers, and Amory took the 9-7 lead at the 5:13 mark on a touchdown pass from Jon David Poss to Dario Robinson.
“They made the play there and had us pinned inside the one,” Price said. “I thought if we could get to the edge, we could have some room to punt the football, and we were just unable to protect and get out of the end zone, and they made the play, like they did so many times tonight.”
Amory had three fumbles in the first half, and after the third one at the Panthers’ six-yard line, Day connected with Austin Howard, giving New Albany the 14-9 lead. That score was quickly answered by Poss, who found Devin McIntosh, and the Panthers led 16-14 at the break.
After an interception by Day midway through the third, Amory extended its lead, 23-14, on a quarterback keeper by Poss.
New Albany made it a two-point game on a keeper by Day early in the fourth, and the momentum stayed with the Bulldogs as O.J. Hardin kept the Panthers from adding points on a field goal, blocking the kick and giving New Albany the ball with 6:57 remaining.
A bad snap pushed the Bulldogs deep in their own territory, and electing to attempt a fake punt on fourth and long, New Albany turned the ball over on downs, and Robinson added the final touchdown for Amory with his two-yard run.
“We’ve seen Amory rush nine a lot this year, and I was hoping they would send that formation out there,” Price said of the fake punt. “We called the fake punt, and I should have changed it right there. It was just a desperation move, trying to make something happen. If I had to do it over again, I would have punt the ball and seen what our defense could do.”
With the loss, the Bulldogs drop to 2-2 on the year and will host Corinth next week.