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FOOTBALL: Tiger defense rebounds against Commanders

November 28, 2012
Bardstown High School

FOOTBALL: Tiger defense rebounds against Commanders

Bardstown-DeSales matchup to decide home playoff game
By Brandon Mattingly

The Bardstown Tigers took another step toward securing a home playoff game on Friday night with a 22-6 victory over Washington County in a game that was a defensive struggle much of the way.

<div class="source">Brandon Mattingly/Landmark News Service</div><div class="image-desc">Deion Tonge (left) scored two rushing touchdowns to help lift Bardstown to a 22-6 win over Washington County. The Tiger defense held the Commanders to less than 200 yards of offense.</div><div class="buy-pic"></div>
Brandon Mattingly/Landmark News Service
Deion Tonge (left) scored two rushing touchdowns to help lift Bardstown to a 22-6 win over Washington County. The Tiger defense held the Commanders to less than 200 yards of offense.

Bardstown (7-1, 3-1 dist.) totaled 245 yards on the ground on 37 carries, while completing 2-of-11 passes for 18 yards. The Commander offense was held to less than 100 yards in both the rushing (86 yards) and passing (93 yards) game, and had the ball taken away twice in the fourth quarter on big interceptions by the Tigers.

“The defense played incredible,” Bardstown coach David Clark said. “The defense carried us all night long. It makes it a lot easier to play ball control offensively when the defense is playing so well. I was really pleased with (junior) Dallan Goldring and the way he punted the ball. He kept (Washington County) deep in their own territory all night long.”

Goldring tallied seven punts for 322 yards, an average of 46 per attempt.

Neither team was able to get the edge in the first quarter, with Bardstown getting the best scoring chance inside the red zone. However, a fumble at the 19-yard-line ended the Tigers’ drive and led to a scoreless opening quarter.

The Commanders marched from their own 11-yard line to midfield midway through the second quarter, but the Tiger defense tightened and forced a punt, setting Bardstown up for the game’s first strike.

Junior running back Deion Tonge broke free for 23 yards near midfield early in the drive, and capped the series off with a 27-yard touchdown to give his team a 7-0 lead four minutes before halftime.

The Bardstown offense was forced to punt on all three of its third-quarter possessions, allowing the Commanders to stay within striking distance. Washington County moved the ball into Tiger territory midway through the quarter, but a 4th-and-2 pass by the Commanders from the Bardstown 37-yard line was snuffed out by the Tiger defense inches shy of the first-down marker, preserving the lead.

With Washington County (1-7, 1-3 dist.) working from its own 10-yard line, Bardstown made a move on an interception by junior defensive back Tavon Johnson at the Commander 42.

The Tigers capitalized on the first play of the ensuing drive, when senior tailback Donshais Calbert sprinted past the Commander defense for a 42-yard score.

Washington County junior Dustin Harmon responded with a kick return to the Bardstown 30-yard-line, but sophomore defensive back Donovan Nance picked off a Washington County pass at the 2-yard line, as the defense stepped up yet again.

The offense, however, gave the ball right back two plays later on a fumble, setting up a 4-yard touchdown run by junior Commander quarterback Morgan Churchill. Junior linebacker Tyrone Mudd blocked the extra point attempt, leaving the Bardstown lead at 14-8 with 6:26 remaining.

Facing a fourth-and-goal at the eight-yard-line, Bardstown got the decisive blow on a Tonge touchdown run with 37.5 seconds on the clock to seal the victory.

Despite the Commanders’ record coming into the game, Clark said he knew what kind of game his team was in for.

“This is a tough place to play,” Clark said. “They always play really well against Bardstown and a lot of credit goes to Washington County and how hard their kids played. I thought it was a very physical, hard game, but I thought both sides played with a lot of class and played really hard.”

With Christian Academy-Louisville (4-0 in district play) knocking off DeSales (3-1) on Friday night, CAL locked up the district’s top seed, leaving a big matchup between the Tigers (3-1) and DeSales this week for the district’s two seed.

“DeSales and us are fighting for No. 2, so it’s whether or not we get a home playoff game, which is pretty big,” Clark said.

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