MULBERRY — Three games isn’t exactly late into the football season, but it isn’t early either.
So the Frostproof Bulldogs — using a multiplayer running attack — hope they jump-started their fall campaign with a 28-12 road win Friday night against Mulberry.
The Bulldogs rushed 49 times for 288 yards, paced by the 18-carry, 119-yard, two-touchdown night from senior Bennie Spry in building a 21-12 halftime lead. Frostproof scored on three of its four first-half possessions, and would have been four-for-four if not for a goal line fumble.
“In our mind, if we can run the football and play good defense, we’re going to be fine. I’m good with a 6-0 game,” Frostproof coach Shannon Benton said.
Both clubs stiffened defensively in the second half, with the Bulldogs putting the game away with an nifty 14-play fourth quarter drive — 13 rushes and one incomplete pass — that chewed up more than half of the final period. Spry added the final five yards to cap the possession, which also included a fourth-down conversion by the club’s other speedster, Darriel Davis.
Junior Willie Knighten, the Bulldogs' bigger, between-the-tackles ball carrier, had 14 attempts for 66 yards and had a 3-yard touchdown run. The fourth running threat, quarterback Nathan Jenkins, who handles the option and misdirection running offense beyond his freshman year status, opened the scoring on a 1-yard TD keeper.
“I think more than anything, Mulberry could go 0-10 or 10-0 and they’ll play Frostproof hard," Benton said. "They always have, even when I was in school. My message this week was, ‘yeah, they're young, but if you underestimate them, then you’re going to be in trouble.’ Honestly, we kind of played to their level early and made it a fight. I think we were the better team, we just didn’t always play like it though.”
Mulberry got scores from quarterback Kavion Nichols on a 12-yard scamper in the first quarter, and from Dakota Peters on an 18-yard pass from Nichols in the second quarter.
Frostproof (1-2) will host Avon Park next Friday, while Mulberry (1-1) will have a tough draw on the road at undefeated Lake Wales.