The Aberdeen Bulldogs unleashed their ground attack on Friday night.
Aberdeen scored all but one of its touchdowns on the ground as junior running back Johnathan Moore found the end zone three times in the 26-0 shutout against Okolona.
Moore scored on runs of 3, 34 and 7 yards and finished with 75 yards on just nine carries.
“He definitely could have had more, but we shut him down once the game was in hand,” said Aberdeen’s Alex Williams, who picked up his first win as head coach. “He was seeing holes very well, and both he and Xavier (Young) ran the ball well. Johnathan broke out and was able to bust a couple of big runs, and overall we blocked well up front and allowed ourselves to get those kind of runs.”
With the rain having come in just before game time, Williams said he had planned to lean on the run game.
“Once the rain came in, that had to be the game plan,” he said. “The field was soaked, and every time the ball touched the ground, it was wet, so we couldn’t throw it much at all. C.J. (Arnold) completed two passes, one to Tae Johnson and another to Isaac Watson, who converted a big fourth down for us. We had to lean on the run game overall. It’s definitely our style of play or what we’re converting to. It’s good to be that tough and impose your will to run the ball. It really helps you in bad weather days like Friday, and it’s another tool that we can put in our belt.”
It was also a big night for the Bulldogs’ defense, which posted the shutout and added another touchdown to its credit on a 54-yard scoop and score by Tyrese Daniels for the final score of the first half.
“We challenged our defense all week, and we knew with the style of offense that Okolona runs, we would have to be very disciplined. For the most part, we did that,” Williams said. “Our guys were flying around the ball all night, and it really helps when you’re gang tackling instead of relying on just one guy to make the play. I was very pleased with our effort and for our guys running to the football and trying to get in on the tackle.”
Williams praised his players up front in the defensive line and linebacker group.
“Johnathan had a big game on defense too, along with JaNolan (Jones). Our entire defensive line was disruptive,” Williams said. “Tyrese (Daniels) had the big touchdown, but Jaheim McMillian, Daylan Copeland, Wyza Randle and Jenari Bell all played well up front. We also got C.J. Estes back in there, who’s going to provide us with some depth on both sides of the line. We are rotating those guys and trying to be careful. That’s the formula.”
The Bulldogs hit the road this week, going to Caledonia and trying to improve to 2-0.
“It’s another well-coached team that we know is going to play extremely hard and another double wing team,” Williams said. “We have a run of those right now that are really going to stress us as far as being disciplined and sound on defense. They run it the right way, and they have a few athletes on the wing positions and in their quarterback. It makes them very tough, and if you’re out of place, they will capitalize. Option football is about being where you’re supposed to be, and it’s not easy to defend. You have to be very fundamentally sound.”