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The Bulldogs have a shot at history when they take the field against Shannon Friday night.
Not since 1982 have the ‘Dawgs won their division, and they are also flirting with an undefeated record at the end of the regular season. With all the hype surrounding New Albany, the Bulldogs are poised, focused and ready for their showdown against the Red Raiders.
“We’ve never been in this situation before, and they have, so it’s a little different for us,” wide receiver Taylor Goode said.
“We’ve got to stay focused this week; can’t slack up any. We know it’s going to be a tough game.”
Goode’s father, David, was a member of the squad that last won district, and the team knows this game ranks among the biggest in school history.
“It would be one of the biggest wins of all time,” Goode said. “They’re a great team, and we’re expecting a tough game.”
“Right now, we’re just going out and practicing hard every day. We know we’re playing a good team in Shannon, and we know what they’ve done in the past, so we got to come out strong and ready to play,” defensive back Dalvin Carr added.
Shannon enters the game at 6-2 (3-0 Division 1-4A) and are coming together on offense after missing quarterback Legilbert Bogan for a month and running back Bodarius Taylor for the better part of the season.
“He is back, and it seems like the chemistry is there with them,” NAHS head coach Ron Price said of Bogan.
“They’ve had a lot of injuries this year, but now that it’s the end of the year, they’re exactly where they need to be, and that’s healthy. They’re clicking pretty good right now, and they have a great football team, so it will be a big challenge this week.”
Taylor enters the game with 484 rushing yards in Shannon’s three division games, along with seven touchdowns, meaning the Bulldogs’ defensive line will be challenged again this week. For the Red Raiders’ defense, Price hopes the man coverage Shannon plays will work to the Bulldogs’ advantage.
“They take pride in playing a man coverage, and we’ve told our kids to take pride in trying to prove that we’re the better man,” Price said.
“When teams are athletic enough and they feel like they can cover you man-to-man, that just shows that they’re pretty confident in what they do. We’re confident in what we do, and we believe in what we do, so we’re challenging our kids this week to prove that.”
Each week is getting tougher for the Bulldogs, but they are determined to keep working hard as they are so close to winning a division title.
“At this point, we’re getting drained and tired and everyone is bringing their all against us, but we’re working through that and staying focused on our goal,” tackle Mario Waldrop said.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve been on the top like we are right now, so we’ve just got to keep it up,” Carr added.
Friday's game is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff.