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In a physical battle versus an undefeated opponent, the Bulldogs posted their third shutout of the season, defeating M.S. Palmer 31-0, to improve to 6-0.
New Albany’s offense started slow, only producing a field goal on their opening drive, and Tyler Basil connected with Taylor Goode, making it 10-0 after the first.
“Offensively, we didn’t do the things we wanted to do tonight like we’ve asked our kids, so we’ll work on that next week and hopefully get better there,” NAHS head coach Ron Price said.
Basil extended the Bulldogs’ lead with his keeper midway through the second, and New Albany had an opportunity to add on to that, but a field goal attempt by Sam Jackson Dunnam was blocked in the final minute of the half.
Kareem Brown scored the last two touchdowns for the ‘Dawgs, starting with one in the third quarter after he blocked a punt deep in Dragon territory. Brown’s second score came in the fourth quarter, making it 31-0.
“Tonight, the offense was kind of slacking and making stupid penalties, but we got going toward the end of the game,” Brown said. “Coach has been telling us that when we get into division play, we won’t get any second chances, so this week, we’re going to come out and work hard, fix the mistakes and give better effort.”
Brown finished with 155 yards of total offense (99 receiving/ 56 rushing) and two touchdowns. Basil finished 10-for-22 for 205 yards, and Kelvin Worship had 97 yards on the ground on 18 attempts.
“Palmer has a great football team,” Price said. “They’re big and strong, and it was a challenge for our defense to stop their running game. I’ve very proud of our effort, and 6-0 is big for our kids and our community. Hopefully we can stay focused heading into division play and take care of business.”
For the ‘Dawgs defense, they complete their non-division schedule having shutout three of six opponents, and New Albany has now outscored their 2010 opponents, 213-24.
"We practiced hard all last week, and we were challenged to do better this week,” senior linebacker Zach Hand said. “Defense, we try to get a shutout every week, and we did that again tonight. We’re doing what we need to do, and we’re trying to keep the intensity up.”
New Albany now looks ahead to division play, starting with the 4-2 Pontotoc Warriors.
“They’ve had our number the past few years, and it’s another big game for our community,” Price said. “They’re a big rival for us, and we just want to get over the hump and be able to come out next Friday night and take care of business. We’ve had them down the past few years, just haven’t be able to put them away, so hopefully we can come out next week and put them away early and be 1-0 in division play after next Friday.”
For the team, they are happy to enter division play unbeaten, a feat the seniors have not accomplished since middle school.
“This is something we’ve wanted for a long time and we just need to keep up what we’re doing, and if we do, we should be 11-0 at the end of the season,” Hand said.
“It feels great; its best feeling in the world. It’s our senior year, and there’s no better way to go out after being 3-7 and 6-6. It’s also homecoming, so this is definitely a night to remember,” Brown added.
New Albany opens division play on the road at Pontotoc Friday night.