CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — The Carl Junction Bulldogs fell to 2-4 on Friday night after facing off against the Nixa Eagles. The Bulldogs lost 56-8.

Even in the midst of a tough loss, the Bulldogs showed promising signs on both offense and defense. They won in the trenches often, running the ball well on offense and stopping Nixa’s running game on defense.

“We ran the ball well in the first half, I think we averaged over six yards a carry,” said Carl Junction Head Coach Doug Buckmaster, “And we stopped their running game for the most part. (Nixa running back) Ramone Greene only had about 60 yards in the first half.”

Offensively, the Bulldogs leaned heavily on their running backs, Tony Stewart and Johnny Starks. They easily picked up large chunks of yardage and took several drives into the Nixa redzone. But once there, the Bulldogs struggled to maintain momentum, which ultimately kept them out of the endzone.

On the other side of the ball, Nixa relied heavily on Ramone Greene, their star running back. The Bulldogs limited Greene for most of the night, which forced Nixa to take to the air. Quarterback Connor Knatcal took advantage of the situation and threw for six touchdowns, including three to wide receiver Kael Combs. Combs would have four touchdowns on the night including a 68-yard reception in the second quarter.

“I’m happy about the things we did well. We ran the ball well, and we defended the run well. Ramone Greene is a great running back. (Nixa’s) quarterback, running back, wide receivers, are all great players,” added Buckmaster.

The Bulldogs had the lone turnover of the game, a fumble that gave Nixa a short field, but they limited their mistakes against another strong opponent. Buckmaster mentioned how they’ve played some of the top teams in their respective classes, and will face another Class 6 top-ranked team next week in Joplin.

“We’ve played a tough schedule,” said Buckmaster, “We’ve got a good football team, and I think we can make some noise (in the playoffs), if we can get through the regular season healthy. I think it’s very achievable if we continue to get better.”

Senior Arlen Wakefield scored the lone touchdown for the Bulldogs late in the fourth quarter thanks to a five-yard run into the endzone. It was yet another example of how the Bulldogs were able to move the ball downfield against a good Nixa defense.

This time they were able to capitalize, and picked up the 2-point conversion on a swinging gate alignment that led to quarterback Dexter Merrell waltzing into the endzone on the keeper.

“I think we’re going to make some noise before the season is over. We’re gonna beat somebody who doesn’t think they can be beat by us. We’re going to get one somewhere,” said Buckmaster, “The one thing I’m most proud of is that our kids keep playing and they play hard. They are giving their best effort and they are playing hard, and you can’t ask for more than that.”

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