Male quarterback Tony Thomas, Jr., playing as the Bulldogs’ No. 1 quarterback for the first time, threw for 200 yards, including scoring strikes of 10 yards to Rasean McCauley in the first quarter and 57 yards to Brian Smith in the final period.
“He’s going to keep getting better,” Male coach Chris Wolfe said of Thomas. “He did some things really well and there were some things he needs to work on.
“I told the guys we don’t have to be elite level on week one but just keep working towards it. … I think they (the Highlanders) are a really solid team. We were good enough this week. That’s about all I know.”
On the ground, Dayveon Higgs led the way with 98 yards, including touchdown runs of 1 and 12 yards.
Smith caught five passes for 138 yards.
Male made it look early on its first drive, cruising 67 yards, including 41 yards from running back Higgs, who went in from the 1 with 8:30 left.
The Highlanders, though, came right back and marched 78 yards, including a 36-yard run by Jason Cundiff early in the drive.
Floyd Central’s Devon Stikes went in from the 7-yard line, and the Highlanders tied it at 7-all.
On its second possession, the Bulldogs converted a couple of third-and-longs and on third-and-10 from the 10, quarterback Tony Thomas Jr. hit a wide-open Rasean McCauley in the left corner of the end zone and Male led 14-7.
After stopping Floyd Central, the Bulldogs then went up 21-7 on a seven-yard TD run by Higgs.
Late in the second quarter, a Floyd Central drive stalled, and Cole Hussung hit a 22-yard field goal.
In the second half, Male tallied the only two scores — a 12-yard scoring run by Higgs in the third quarter and a 57-yard pass from Thomas to Brian Smith in the final period.