In the wake of tragedy, the Lexington Bulldogs’ football team came through with a tremendous showing last Friday night at home, defeating district rival Little Axe, 48-24.
With the victory, Lexington now moves to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in District 2A-7 play.
The ‘Dawgs were mourning the loss of junior high football player Riley Boatwright, who died from injuries sustained on the gridiron in a junior high game against Stratford.
Though their hearts were heavy and their minds were on Boatwright, Lex eventually focused and put their best foot forward.
A slant from Colton Penner to receiver Jaylen Cottrell led to a quick 6-0 Lexington lead.
Lexington’s Jaylen Cottrell intercepted the Indians for a return to the 42.
On the ensuing play, Nathan Clegg raced all the way into the end zone for another touchdown. The kick was no good, leaving the ‘Dawgs with a 12-0 advantage.
Lexington’s Heath Winterton intercepted a Little Axe toss at the 24-yard line with 6:24 left. After a couple of plays, Penner pushed in for a score from the 2-yard line with 4:37 to go before half. The two-point option was no good and that left the ‘Dawgs ahead of the Indians, 18-0.
Little Axe got on the board with an 11-yard touchdown pass and a two-point conversion with 3:48 left in the first half, making the score 18-8 in favor of the ‘Dawgs. Clegg again turned on the after burners in the next possession.
He had a 35-yard touchdown jaunt for a touchdown. This time, Lex ran it in for a successful two-point conversion to make the score 26-8. With 1:08 left before the half, the ‘Dawgs scored again on Cottrell’s touchdown run to make the score 32-8.
“We came into this game wanting to run the football and we were able to run the football” Berglan said.
“We’re pounding the football – pound it, pound it, pound it, and then throw it deep. Nate Clegg had a heck of a first half. He’s sick and he’s still busting his butt. Colton Penner is doing what he needs to do to make plays. Our defense is making the plays, too. We’re flying around and laying it on them.”
In the second half, on a 4th and long play, Clegg caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Penner and the two-point conversion was good for a commanding 40-8 third quarter lead.
Little Axe scored with a five-yard rushing touchdown. The two-point conversion was good with 1:33 left in the third.
Clegg again pulled out the big guns – going 72 yards on the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown.
The two-point conversion was good giving the Bulldogs a 48-16 lead.
Little Axe scored its final touchdown with 7:35 left in the game. The two-point conversion was good, making the final score 48-24.
“We start district play 1-0 and we got our 15 points,” Berglan said after the game.
“Our kids came out during a rough week. I thought they played their hearts out. They really busted their tails. We were very aggressive and we ended up pounding the ball then throwing it deep.”
Clegg had an awesome game. He carried the pigskin 13 times for 130 yards and one touchdown. He had two receptions for 33 yards and another touchdown – plus the 72-yard kickoff return for another trip into pay dirt.
“We showed up and played hard,” Clegg said. “There are still a lot of errors we can fix. We have things we have to improve upon. But, I look forward to next week and putting more points on the scoreboard.”
Clegg knew the late Boatwright well.
“I loved him to death and he meant a lot to me,” Clegg said. “I knew him quite well and he helped my sister a lot. I got to know him a bunch because of their relationship. I appreciate everything he and his family did for us. I’m just happy that I know he’s up There smiling down on us right now. We won this game for him. We sure did.”
Cottrell was his usual humble self – even though he had a great game with two scores.
“I think our linemen did a great job,” Cottrell said. “Our defense and especially our secondary did very well. Personally, I think I did a good job but I feel like I can improve with each week. I’m never completely satisfied with myself.”
Cottrell remembers Boatwright well, too. He said the ‘Dawgs just wanted to win the game for him.
“He was a good kid – a humble person and just an all-around good guy,” Cottrell said. “He could put a smile on everyone’s face. He was just a happy guy overall. The loss of him put everyone down.
“We weren’t completely all there in the first quarter when we first came out – still thinking about him and our minds may not have been right. But, we started to perform better from there.”
Berglan is the Lexington Middle School principal as well as the ‘Dawgs’ head football coach. He loved Boatwright and was just happy his team honored his memory with a victory last Friday.
“The death of Riley Boatwright lays heavy on everyone’s hearts,” Berglan said. “We talked about it before the game. You have to take care of your players and just love them.
“Our kids played hard tonight. We all had Riley in our hearts and on our minds and we always will from now on. He was such a good boy. I think he would be proud of these guys tonight.”
Lexington plays at 7 p.m. Friday at Star Spencer, who is 3-1 overall and 0-1 in district play. The Bobcats are led by head coach Kenneth West.
Head coach Dale Berglan nominated Mayson Dunaway for Offensive Lineman of the Week. Dunaway graded out at 81 percent.
Nathan Clegg was Berglan’s Offensive Player of the Week nominee with 13 carries for 130 yards and a touchdown as well as 33 yards receiving and a score. Clegg had a 72-yard kickoff return for a touchdown as well.
Dallan Berglan was Lexington’s Defensive Lineman Player of the Week nominee with four tackles, one tackle for a loss and one sack.
Avery Armstead was the ‘Dawg’s Defensive Player of the Week nominee with nine total tackles, including two tackles for loss and two quarterback sacks.