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Bulldogs roll against Huskies, reach playoffs

It came down to “win and you’re in” for the Claiborne Bulldogs football team Oct. 27. Standing in their way were the North Greene Huskies. Before fans found out if they had one more game to attend the school took a moment to celebrate its seniors. The athletes and their parents were thanked for their efforts and dedication to their respective teams, band and cheer included.

Coming off a disappointing loss to their rival Cumberland Gap, these Bulldogs could have had a let down but instead they came out a focused team. They simply took the fight to the Huskies, not lifting off the throttle until late in the second half.

Storm Livesay got the offense going early via the run and pass but it was Elijah Beason who put the Bulldogs on the board first with a six yard run. The PAT was good by Grayson Howard. Livesay and Beason combined efforts for another score at the 5:47 mark. After the PAT the Bulldogs led 14-0. The Huskies were then faced with a fourth down minutes later and kept the drive going on a well executed fake punt; however, the drive stalled and the Bulldogs offense took over.

Eli Stone found the end zone on a rushing TD of 25 yards and the Bulldogs led 21-0. Greg Goins, Isaac Fugate and Lukas Neely all three scored for the home team as they increased their lead out to 40-0. The Bulldogs special teams blocked a Huskies punt and got a safety to increase the score to 42-0 with 2:37 remaining in the half. Livesay broke down the sidelines in front of the home fans for another TD covering 80 yards to increase the Bulldogs’ total to 55-8 after completing the two point conversion. At the half the score was 49-0.

Cameron Foland did great work during the the second half along with Tyler Napier. Napier went 25 yards for the Bulldogs final score of the game. It was 55-0 before the Huskies found the end zone and scored twice before the end of the game. The final score was 55-14 and the Bulldogs had earned a spot in the playoffs where they will face one of the premier teams in the state, Alcoa.

When asked about how his team battled through the adversity of losing it’s senior QB but still reaching the playoffs, Claiborne coach Nathan Medlin said, “We tried our very best to give our seniors the best final home game possible tonight but all season long they worked so hard to get better and it’s great to see them do what they did tonight. The entire team played hard all year long and there are some things we could have done differently but any coach would be proud to make the playoffs. Next week we have the opportunity everyone wants and that’s to play arguably the best team in the state and that’s the goal for any team at the end of the year.”

The Bulldogs regular season record ends at 5-5 and they will now prepare for the first playoff game under Medlin.