In a battle of the Bulldogs Friday night in Arcadia, Frostproof’s bite was more vicious than Desoto’s bark.
Frostproof rode the strength on one long scoring drive in the second quarter to outlast Desoto, 8-6.
It took all of one play at the start of the third quarter for the host Desoto Bulldog to wipe its zero off the board as Justin Richaradson hauled in a short pass and went 52-yards, eluding several wood-be Frostproof tacklers near the 10-yard line, for a score. The PAT kick was blocked, and Frostproof’s lead was sliced to 8-6.
Frostproof looked like it might have an immediate answer, driving to the Desoto 25 before a fumble stopped the drive which started with a nice 11-yard pass completion to Kaleen Gaines, an 11 yard run by Jake Smith and an 18-yard completion to Reggie Allen.
Desoto returned the favor three plays later when Dustin Saiz jumped on a loose ball at the host’s 22, but Frostproof could not take advantage as they lost possession on two short runs, and two consecutive quarterback sacks.
Frostproof did most of its effective running between the tackles, and drove to the Desoto 37 before that effort stalled, late in the third quarter.
With three minutes gone in the final frame, Frostproof looked like they were about to be handed a golden opportunity when a punt snap sailed over the Desoto kickers head toward his own goal line. He picked it up, however, and was tackled. However, Frostproof was called for a face mask on the tackle, and an unsportsman like penalty as well. There was an offsetting Desoto unsportsman like penalty on the same play, and ejections, after a brief scuffle broke out. When all was said and done, Desoto had a 4th-and-11 at the 23. This time the punter J.T. Tavareas tried a pass, and it was incomplete, setting Frostproof up at the host’s 23 with 8:55 to go.
But once again the Frostproof offense couldn’t muster much, hampered by a holding penalty and incomplete pass.
Desoto went three and out, and again the Frostproof offense had short field, starting a drive at the Desoto 26 with 5:29 to play in the game, following a fake punt that was stopped well short.
Frostproof looked like it was on its way to the second score of the night when Dakota McCullers broke free. But, just short of the goal line, he was hit hard and lost the ball, with Desoto recovering in the end zone for a touchback with 3:31 remaining.
Going into a hurry up mode, Desoto ripped of 19 yards on two passing plays. On the third play of the possession, a short run, JakeSmith was injured and taken off the field on a stretcher. He was able to move his arms and legs while on the ground face down, however, and gave a thumbs up sign as well. No other information was available on the injury.
The delay may have impacted the next play, a fumbled snap which cost Desoto seven yards. ON 4th-and-11, quarterback Kari Williams took off for 13 yards and a first down with just over a minute to play.
A penalty for an illegal shift, and a head ups defensive play by Tyrone Hamilton on a short pass left Desoto with a 2nd-and-19 at their own 43 with 54.7 seconds remaining. A holding penalty on Desoto was declined after a two-yard loss, setting up a 3rd-and-21. A short run by Williams got only four yards, and a fourth down Hail Mary was well overthrown, giving Frostproof the ball back with 18.4 seconds to go, sealing the win.
To say that the first quarter was sluggish is to say it’s been hot this summer in Polk County.
Neither offense found any rhythm in the first 12 minutes. Frostproof didn’t even get a first down. Desoto had two, one on a roughing the punter penalty, and another when the punter decided to run on a fourth-and-short. Both times, however, the Frostproof defense stiffened and forced punts three plays later.
Ironically, it was a fake punt of Frostproof’s that got the visiting Bulldogs on track.
Facing a 4th-and-1 on is own 31, Frostproof lined up in punt formation, but instead direct snapped the ball to Hamilton who scampered nine yards. That seem to ignite Frostproof, which went on to complete a 17-yard drive that took over nine minutes of game time off the clock.
It was the sharpest quarterback Zack Jenkins has looked so far this year, connecting with David Dyer on a 17-yard play and Gaines for 14-yards, both on pretty-as-you-please throws. Facing a 3rd-and-6, Jenkins rolled left and shot-putted a pass over the Desoto defense into the waiting arms of Dyer for the games first points.
Reggie Allen ran in for the two-point conversion, giving Frostproof the only points for the first half and an 8-0 lead at intermission.
Frostproof, now 2-1 on the season, will be on the road again next week when they travel to Mulberry for a 7 p.m. kickoff. In two weeks, the Bulldogs will be back at Faris Brannen Stadium for a homecoming showdown with rival and now league foe Fort Meade.