By Richard Sharp
Lake Area Sports
QUITMAN-Clinging to a slim 35-30 lead at the half in yet another crucial 2A-4 league battle, the Quitman Bulldogs marched back out and added one final score to their cause while holding their opposition in the Mountainburg Dragons to one score as well over the final two quarters to hold on for a much-needed 41-38 triumph from Bulldog Stadium last weekend.
Junior quarterback William Litton got the scoring going with a keep play that resulted in a short touchdown run to put the hosts up 6-0 with nearly two minutes expired in the opening frame of play, however Noah Johnson broke two tackles on his way to the endzone on third and seven from 25 yards out, seizing the lead with a two-point conversion on another run.
Litton put Quitman back out in front after slicing his way through on another quarterback keep, but the Dragons struck right back as Gus Newton and Johnson used their speed to get another TD, reeling off 48 yards in just two plays, clipping on another two on a rush from Newton to complete the drive.
The lead switched hands again after Litton looked and threw to the right side and found senior receiver/kicker Erin Mathes for six points, two more coming from a dash courtesy of Litton that crossed the plain.
After Mountainburg was forced to punt after going three and out, the Bulldogs gave themselves some breathing room after Litton aired out a 42-yard pass that ended up in the hands of Mathes for a touchdown that extended the lead to twelve at 28-16 following an extra point booted in by Mathes.
The Dragons drew within four on the ensuing drive on a 75-yard touchdown rush from Newton, but Quitman kept their momentum going after Litton threaded a 45-yard pass to Trevor Locke before Litton darted to the end zone from seven yards out. Mountainburg gave themselves some momentum as well before the end of the half after a short run from Newton resulted in another touchdown, with a combined 65 points showing on the scoreboard headed to the intermission.
Litton provided more fireworks in the third quarter, breezing past all Dragon defenders for the touchdown, getting help from the defense, who held the visitors to one final score the rest of the way for the one-possession triumph.
Litton stuffed the statsheet, making it look like another day at the offense with 16 of 20 passing for 221 yards and two touchdowns, picking up another 220 yards and four touchdowns on the ground on 30 rushes. Mathes was on the receiving end of two touchdowns, hauling in eight catches for 118 yards with Trevor Hensley rushing 14 times for 86 yards.
Defensively, Quitman was paced by Litton and senior Jett Silor, who both contributed double-digit tackle totals with 13 apiece as five of Silor’s resulted in losses of yardage.
In total offense, the home team ran 64 plays, moving the chains 19 times while collecting 527 yards (221 receiving, 306 rushing)
The Bulldogs turned the page to their regular season finale in a road game at Hector. For the first time in school history, the program will host their first state playoff game, welcoming the Murfreesboro Rattlers (5-5) from the 2A-7 to Cleburne County on November 13.