Bulldogs overcome rough start to capture, 28-22, overtime win on the road at Buffalo Gap

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Sophomore Cason Bryant fakes a reverse to senior Ryder Liscomb before scampering 47 yards for Luray's first score against Gap on Sept. 1.

By Randy Arrington

SWOOPE, Sept. 1 — Despite only four first downs and a host of untimely penalties, the Luray Bulldogs showed some resilience on Friday night and recovered from an early 14-point deficit to capture a hard-fought, 28-22, overtime victory on the road at Buffalo Gap.

The Bison had a lot of momentum in the first five minutes, scoring on their first two drives, while also benefitting from a successful onside kick and a Luray fumble tucked in between the two scores. Despite a third score early in the second quarter, the Bulldog defense would shut down the Bison the rest of the way as the visitors clawed their way back to a tie game by the end of the first half and a complete stalemate in the second.

It took the Bison only three plays to score in the opening two minutes, as senior running back Conner Lawrence broke loose on a third-and-four for 74 yards. Senior Blake Robertson pushed in the two-point conversion as Gap quickly took an 8-0 lead.

Following the successful onside kick, Gap would fumble on the third play — only to have Luray fumble it back on a bad exchange in the backfield during their first play from scrimmage. Gap then drove 35 yards on five plays and scored off a 1-yard plunge by freshman quarterback Jude Louk. A fumble on the two-point conversion left the score at 14-0 with 6:32 left in the first quarter.

A second onside kick by Gap failed and Luray started their second possession at their own 45. Sophomore Cason Bryant would then need only two plays to score, as he picked up eight yards on first down before breaking a fake reverse to Ryder Liscomb for a 47-yard touchdown run around the right side. A failed PAT left the score at 14-6 with 5:34 still left in the first quarter.

Each team exchanged punts before Buffalo Gap would post their final score of the game early in the second quarter. The seven-play drive covered 62 yards and ended with a 13-yard touchdown run by Lawrence, who also punched in the two-point conversion. Gap now held a 16-point lead at 22-6, with nine minutes left in the first half.

The Bulldogs then showed the first signs of putting together a passing game, as freshman quarterback Ayden Haddock hit Liscomb for a 41-yard reception that set up a second Bryant touchdown two plays later, this time from 17 yards out. Liscomb punched in the two-point conversion to make the score 22-14 with 7:31 left in the first half. Bryant would lead Luray’s ground game with 87 yards on 10 carries for the night, but the standout sophomore posted 76 yards and two touchdowns in just his first four carries.

After Luray stymied a fake punt by Gap, the Bulldogs went 45 yards in four plays, capped off by a 34-yard touchdown pass from Haddock to junior Drayvin Stevens. Senior Braden Ancell ran in the two-point conversion to tie the game at 22-22 with 2:16 still left in the half.

While Luray is not known as a passing team and Haddock is just a freshman, the Bulldogs went 2-for-2 through the air in the first half for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Put together with 101 on the ground, Luray had a total of 176 yards in the first half — while Gap posted 215 yards of offense.

There were a total of 12 possessions in the second half — six by each team — with the results being seven punts, four turnovers and one turn over on downs. Buffalo Gap fumbled the ball on three of their six possessions. The game had a total of six turnovers, with four credited to Gap. Luray fumbled once each half and continued to suffer from yellow flag fever, drawing four of six whistles blown in the first half and eight of 12 in the second half.

Luray picked up 95 yards in the second half to Gap’s 58, but neither team could do much with the ball and the game went into overtime at 22-22. Each team then got a possession starting at the 10 yard line. Buffalo Gap gained seven yards on four plays before turning the ball over to Luray. On third-and-seven, Haddock completed his fourth pass of the night to Liscomb for the winning score in overtime.

For the night, Haddock went 4-for-7 through the air for 122 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 10 yards on five carries. Bryant had 87 of Luray’s 157 yards on the ground. Both senior Ayden Starkey and Ancell had 25 yards on the night. Total offense for the game was fairly even, as Luray unofficially had 271 yards to Gap’s 273.

The overtime loss drops the Bison to 0-2 after another heart-breaking loss to James River of Buchanan County, 13-12, in Week 1. Next up, Gap hosts the Eagles of Clarke County on Sept. 8.

The overtime win gives the Bulldogs their first victory of the season, as they move to 1-1 following a season-opening, 28-14, loss to East Rockingham at home on Aug. 25. Next up, Luray hosts William Monroe at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8 at Bulldog Field.

For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.



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