Late lead slips away from Bulldogs in season opener

By: Ben Pfeifer, Correspondent
Posted 9/9/20

One week later than expected, the Mexico football team finally took the field Friday.

Despite holding a lead in the final quarter, the Bulldogs were unable to hang on and fell 28-20 at Southern …

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Late lead slips away from Bulldogs in season opener

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One week later than expected, the Mexico football team finally took the field Friday.

Despite holding a lead in the final quarter, the Bulldogs were unable to hang on and fell 28-20 at Southern Boone Friday night.

A long Eagle touchdown and a Bulldog interception sealed the win for Southern Boone (1-1).

A 30-yard Chase Schupp run gave Southern Boone a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. However, junior running back Isaiah Reams – he finished the game with 73 yards on 12 carries – struck back and scored for the Bulldogs. Senior Ty Prince converted the two-point conversion to put Mexico ahead 8-7.

Trailing 13-8 heading into the third quarter, a Prince rushing score gave the Bulldogs a 14-13 lead.

In the fourth quarter, Mexico capitalized on strong field position, finishing the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Prince to Shannon Dorsey, giving the Bulldogs a 20-13 lead.

Late in the fourth with the Eagles facing a third-and-long situation, Southern Boone converted the first down with a screen pass. They finished off that drive with a 40-yard passing touchdown and a conversion, giving them a 21-20 lead.

Another late Eagle score and a Prince interception cemented the loss for Mexico.

Senior running back Dante Billups carried 17 times for 81 yards on Friday. Last season, Billups rushed for 1,333 yards and 19 touchdowns on 234 carries.

Haag knows teams will load up on Billups, so he’s focusing on involving Reams and junior running back Michael White to take some attention off of Billups.

“They’re keying on him [Billups], he’s not going to surprise anybody this year,” Mexico Head Coach Steve Haag said. “Those yards are going to come harder just because they know who he is, they know the yards he had last year, the touchdowns he scored.”

Haag estimates that White, who also captains the Mexico defense and made the all-conference and all-district team as a defensive back last season, approached 20 tackles on Friday.

Despite his team losing their season opener, Haag is pleased with the Bulldogs’ performance.

“Other than winning it, I couldn’t be any happier with how they came out and got after it,” Haag said.

Mexico’s original season opener against Centralia the week prior was canceled due to a Bulldog player testing positive for COVID-19. The Bulldogs had to isolate until Wednesday, losing a game of film and all but two practices.

“There’s no replacement for game time,” Haag said. “We’ve got to play games and play snaps and you get better then you come in and fix that stuff. Southern Boone had that opportunity. We didn’t have it.”

This week, the Bulldogs travel to St. Charles to face Orchard Farm (2-0). Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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