Blue Devils too strong for Bulldogs

The top ranked team in class 3A, Pike County, traveled to Cordova for a showdown between two of the top teams in the state, and it was a battle for all 48 minutes.



The score doesn't show how hard each team fought, but make no mistake there is a reason Pike County is 45-2 over the past three years. It's called heart!

The Bulldogs fumbled the opening kickoff and set the Blue Devils up at the Pike 32 yard line. The Bulldog defense bowed-up and stopped the Blue Devils cold, as they turned it over on downs. That set the tone for the first quarter as both defenses dominated play.

Neither Darrell Reynolds nor Tim Simon were able to get going early in the game. Simon had tried to get the corner several times, and the Blue Devils decided to run the ball right behind center, which proved trouble for Pike County the entire night.

Cordova moved the ball down to the one yard line, and on third and goal Ryan Smith took it in from one yard out on a quarterback sneak.

A personal foul/face mask penalty was assessed on the kickoff which also turned out big for the Blue Devils. Pike County took over at the 20 after the kick went through the end zone, but the Bulldogs couldn't move the ball against a strong Blue Devil defense. The field position game went to Cordova for most of the first half.

After the Bulldogs held the Blue Devils and forced a punt it was like an instant replay. The Bulldogs offense couldn't find any room and had to punt the ball away setting up the Blue Devil offense in Pike County territory for the second consecutive time.

This time the Blue Devils would take advantage of the field position as they picked up a key first down before Ryan Smith raced to his left, pulled up just short of the line of scrimmage and hit a wide open Rico Everett in the back of the end zone for a 28 yard touchdown. The two point attempt failed, and the score was 12-0 Cordova.

Pike County received the kickoff with 2:48 left before the break and marched the ball down to the 15 yard line of Cordova behind the scrambling ability of Beacham. He also hit several passes down field to move the Bulldogs into scoring position with 18 seconds left in the half.

On 2nd down Beacham threw a fade in the corner of the end zone, but Cordova's Ryan Smith intercepted the pass to turn away the Bulldogs only scoring threat for the Bulldogs in the first half.

The second half saw Cordova receive the opening kickoff, and they took control of the game. They drove the field behind runs from Ingram and Rico Everett, with Tim Simon getting an occasional carry.

Everett broke an end-around for about 35 yards down inside the Bulldogs 30 yard line, and Simon finished the drive with a nine yard touchdown run. Cordova would not relinquish control of the game from this point on.

The Cordova defense continued to shut down the Pike County offense, and after another methodical drive down to the one yard line Ryan Smith got his second rushing touchdown of the evening with a quarterback sneak from one yard out. The two-point attempt was once again spoiled by the Bulldog defense, and the score remained 24-0 with 2:48 left to play in the 3rd quarter.

Pike County has heart, and a team with heart, and talent, is always dangerous. The Bulldogs moved into scoring position twice during the final period only to turn the ball over on downs as the Cordova defense stiffened.

Cordova gained possession of the ball after stopping the second threat and marched down to the Pike County 18. With a second and goal from the 19 the Blue Devils took two knees to end the game and preserve the win.

Some things that stood out in the game:

Cordova is better on defense, and Tim Simon finished the night on a pretty good note. Ryan Smith is a sophomore with colleges looking very hard over the next two seasons, as a defensive back.

Rico Everett is going to make some college very happy on NSD when he signs with them. He is only 5-9, but he displays the skill to play at the next level. The 8th grader who plays fullback for Cordova is unreal as he looks and plays like a senior.

Pike County played as hard on the last snap of the game as they played on the first snap, which shows a lot of character and pride in their program. It begins with the coaching staff and trickles down throughout every single player on their sideline.

While Pike County has no lack of talent one young man really made me stand up and take notice of his hard nose, never quit attitude, and down right superb play from his middle linebacker position. That young man is Chad Passmore.

While I was impressed with the play of both teams, with the heart and determination that each played with, this young man stood out above them all. He was injured in the 3rd quarter and came back into the game at less than 100-percent and willed himself to make plays. He is the kind of young man every coach dreams of coaching.

Also, congratulations to Pike County on an unbelievable run. They are 45-2 with this loss tonight, two-time 3A state title winners, and had reeled off 26 straight wins before their loss to Cordova tonight. That is an effort to be applauded.

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