While he said his halftime speech on the road Thursday night against the homestanding Panthers wasn’t anything too groundbreaking or explicit, Wolfe’s Bulldogs got whatever message their coach sent as they surged to a 46-3 win.
The Bulldogs led 9-3 with less than a minute remaining in the first half before tacking on a 26-yard field goal by Erik Sorensson on their final offensive snap of the second quarter and a 98-yard kickoff return touchdown by junior speedster Ethan Bibb to open the second half.
“It wasn’t any Knute Rockne speech or anything — just doing what we normally do and making sure everyone focuses,” Wolfe said.
GALLERY: Male football defeats PRP 46-3
The Bulldogs (6-1, 2-0 Class 6-A, District 3) came out with laser-like focus after the break, erupting for more points (27) in the third quarter than the Panthers had third-quarter yards (21).
In addition to Bibbs’ return touchdown, Dayveon Higgs had an 11-yard touchdown run, Brian Smith caught a 30-yard touchdown from T.J. Thomas and backup running back Tyler Richey scored on an 14-yard run as the Bulldogs ripped off four touchdowns in 7:51 to kickstart the KHSAA’s running clock.
In spite of three turnovers, the Panthers (4-3, 0-2) hung tough with the Bulldogs early. It was a one-possession game before Sorensson’s kick and Bibb’s romp down the Bulldogs’ sideline quickly swung the momentum.
“Against a good football team like that, you can’t get too far behind the eight ball. Because when you get too far behind the eight ball, it slowly starts to become a downward spiral and we weren’t able to find a way out of it in the second half,” said PRP coach Jason Hiser. “Whenever the opposing team gets the ball first in the second half and whatever you said at halftime, it gets to be a forgotten memory when you get a kickoff ran back on you.”
Before the game, Hiser was honored for reaching 50 career varsity wins with the Panthers.
“I hope I ain’t stuck there too long,” Hiser said. “But I do appreciate that.”
A torrential downpour made life rough on both teams in the first half, leading to just 208 combined yards of offense on 60 plays. The teams didn’t help themselves by trading turnovers on consecutive snaps as Male wasted an 11-play drive into Panthers territory with a red-zone interception before PRP fumbled away its next snap.
|Pleasure Ridge Park
M — Safety, ball snapped through end zone, 1:42
M — Nathan Hobbs 14 pass from T.J. Thomas (Evan Sorensson kick), 0:02
P — Evan Kowadla 39 field goal, 8:18
M — Sorensson 26 field goal, 0:09.6
M — Ethan Bibb 98 kickoff return (Sorensson kick), 11:44
M — Dayveon Higgs 11 run (kick failed), 9:53
M — Brian Smith 30 pass from Thomas (Sorensson kick), 6:21
M — Tyler Richey 14 run (Sorensson kick), 3:53
M — Cainel Isom 11 pass from Cameron Chesher (Sorensson kick), 7:09