~ PVN Staff report
LURAY, Oct. 29 — During their 4-0 start to the season, the Luray Bulldogs were averaging close to 300 yards per game on offense. Juniors Brady Jenkins and Kenny Frye lead a charging ground game that chewed up yardage and the clock. But over the last few games, the Bulldogs have struggled with exchanges from the center and in the backfield resulting in several turnovers that have come at costly moments in the game.
Injuries and attrition after a COVID-19 layoff have caused a number of players to be shifted around out of their normal positions. The Luray offense is struggling to regain its earlier momentum, and has been shut out the last two weeks by Strasburg and Clarke.
However, the Luray defense has kept the Bulldogs in each game, despite three consecutive losses. Last Friday, Luray was only down 7-0 at the half before Strasburg exploded for two quick scores in the third quarter. During their homecoming game Friday night, Luray held Clarke County in check early and only trailed 7-0 until late in the second quarter.
The Eagles (8-1) entered the Bull Run District matchup as the only undefeated team in district play. With a key win earlier in the season over Central, Clarke essentially clinched the district title with Friday night’s victory.
After picking up one first down in their opening drive, Clarke fumbled and turned the ball over to Luray near midfield. Jenkins and Frye carried the Luray offense downfield as the Bulldogs picked up a first down of their own. Jenkins then broke loose on a third down run and had nothing but the end zone in front of him when a Clarke defender punched the ball out of his arms from behind at the 5-yard line. The ball scooted through the end zone, resulting in a touchback for Clarke.
Both teams went three-and-out before senior Cordell Broy returned a punt 64 yards late in the first quarter to give the Eagles an early 7-0 lead. Luray fumbled on their next possession, but both teams would turn the ball over on downs before Clarke put together an nine-play drive that ended with a seven-yard touchdown run by Broy. The score was set up by a long reception by Edward Booker.
The Eagles attempted a 39-yard field goal early in the third quarter, but that’s as close as either team would come to scoring in the second half. Luray’s Caden Stevens came up with an interception late in the third. The junior broke away for a 25-yard run four plays later, but another fumble ended the drive in the fourth quarter and Luray would not get the ball back. Clarke ran 13 plays and milked the remaining time on the clock to secure the 14-0 win.
The Thursday night game had been moved up due to a forecast for unfavorable weather on Friday. Homecoming festivities coincided with Senior Night, with senior members of the band, cheer and football squads being recognized prior to the game.
The Bulldogs (4-4) will travel to Madison next Friday night, Nov. 5 for their regular season finale. Clarke (8-1) will host Page County.
The PVN Sports broadcast crew selected
The Bulldog Defense
as the Blue Ridge Bank “Players of the Game“.
While the offense struggles to find its early season success, the Luray defense has kept the team in every game during a three-game losing streak. The Bulldogs held the top team in the district to only 14 points Friday night.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.