SULPHUR - A strong defensive performance and a solid running game got the job done again as the Sulphur Bulldogs rolled past the Prague Red Devils 34-14 Friday night at Calvin Agee Field.

SULPHUR - A strong defensive performance and a solid running game got the job done again as the Sulphur Bulldogs rolled past the Prague Red Devils 34-14 Friday night at Calvin Agee Field. 

The Bulldogs move on to the Class 3A state quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. this Friday when they travel to Sperry to take on the Pirates at the Pirate Cove.  

Sulphur, ranked No. 4 in Class 3A, improved to 11-1 on the year. 

Prague finished their season at 8-4.

It was a hart-hitting struggle the entire 48 minutes with defenses dominating the early going. 

The Red Devils were forced to punt following each of their first five possessions. 

Sulphur to its credit also had plenty of chances to take an early lead.

The entire first quarter was played on the Prague side of the field. 

But the Bulldogs could not take advantage of their great field position and turned the ball over on downs on their first three possessions that ended at the Red Devil 19 yard line, the 22 yard line and the 7 yard line.

A great punt return got Sulphur got them jump-started early in the second quarter. 

Sulphur’s  Houston Haines returned the fourth Prague punt of the game 30 yards to the Red Devil 13-yard line. On the first offensive play of the drive Sulphur’s Tavius McDonald skirted left end and took it the 13 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Bulldog lead.

The fifth Prague punt gave Sulphur possession at their own 38-yard line. 

On the second play from scrimmage, Bulldog quarterback Dawson Muck hit Wyatt Parks with what ended up to be a 44-yard pass and catch to the Red Devil 20-yard line. 

Two plays later Trey Kiser scored on a 14-yard run around right end to put the Bulldogs up 14-0

Prague managed to get on the scoreboard late in the half on a 9-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard dive play by Red Devil tailback Calvin Boyce to make it a 14-6 game at intermission.    

“We did not come out ready to play in the first half,” Sulphur coach Jim Dixon said. 

“For whatever reason we weren’t mentally into the game. And that’s on me. It’s my job to get the team mentally prepared and focused.”

“We have to finish off drives like we had in the first half,” Dixon added. “You can’t turn the ball over on downs when you’re that close. We had three of those situations, and we’ve got to do a better job of finishing. Defensively we played solid and didn’t give them much, but offensively we were not consistent.”

One of the ingredients in the difficulty encountered by the Bulldog running game was the Prague defense. 

The Red Devils were putting eight and nine defenders in the box and forcing Sulphur to either throw over them or to kick the running play to the outside where Prague had fewer defenders. Halftime adjustments allowed the Bulldogs greater success in the second half.

Sulphur finished with a 263-199 advantage in total yards. 

On the ground, the Bulldogs enjoyed a 199-58 edge in yardage. Kiser led the Sulphur attack with 17 carries for 84 yards and two touchdowns. 

Boyce had 77 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns to lead the Red Devils.

The Prague kick-off to start the second half was a long on-side kick that Sulphur mishandled, and the Red Devils fell on the loose football at the Sulphur 36-yard line.

But the Bulldog defense came up big on the first Prague snap and picked off the first of three second half passes by Red Devil quarterback Elway Farriell. 

Bradley Vineyard gathered in the first interception and the Bulldogs had the ball right back at the Bulldog 32-yard line.

An eight-play, 68-yard drive by Sulphur ended in a touchdown run right up the middle by Kiser from three yards out for a 21-6 Bulldog lead with 8:40 remaining in the third

“Our defense and our special teams are our two big assets,” Dixon said. “This was a strong defensive effort throughout the game.”

 “We still need to make improvements to get where we want to be,” Dixon added.  

“The interceptions by our defense and the big plays on special teams and on offense gave us the win tonight. The rest of the time was a tough, physical game. Prague brought a strong team that was ready to play.”

Late in the third quarter the Red Devils went on a 17-play, 52-yard drive that consumed eight minutes of clock time. 

But the Bulldog defense held and forced Prague to turn the ball over on downs at the Sulphur 12-yard line.

Sulphur’s Cole Johnson intercepted a Farriell pass at the Prague 35-yard line and returned it to the Red Devil 11-yard line early in the fourth. Three plays later Bradley Vineyard score on a 13-yard run around left end to increase the Bulldog advantage to 27-6.

The final score by Sulphur was also set up by a defensive interception. Mason Lance picked off a Farriell pass that he returned it to the Red Devil 45-yard line. 

On the first play from scrimmage McDonald scored his second touchdown on a 45-yard dash around left end to finish the Bulldog scoring and give them a 34-6 lead.

 With 1:33 left, Prague got their second touchdown, this one against the Sulphur reserves. 

A 68-yard drive culminated with a 27-yard scoring run by Boyce around right end for the score.

Kiser finished with 84 yards on 17 carries.