On the final play of the first half, White Hall running back Kendrick Edgerson was tackled for an 18-yard loss. It was just about the only bad play the junior made in the game.
Edgerson and his three rushing touchdowns led the Bulldogs to a 36-14 win over Monticello on Tuesday night to close the Simmons First/Hootens.com Kickoff Week doubleheader at Golden Lion Stadium.
Edgerson helped out on defense, too. He tipped a pass that Kaseem Smith intercepted to set up White Hall’s first touchdown, which was scored by — who else — Edgerson.
Edgerson, who finished the game with 128 yards on 18 carries, scored White Hall’s first touchdown on a 7-yard run up the middle. He followed it up with touchdown runs of 8 and 32 yards.
“The intensity wasn’t where we needed it to be in the first half,” White Hall coach Mike Vaughn said. “… In the second half we were much more intense.”
Edgerson was a big reason why.
“We ran it at them non-stop in the first half,” he said. “Somebody’s bound to get tired and we broke a big play on them.”
Two of the games’ biggest plays actually came on first half punts.
After the opening kickoff, Edgerson ran for 20 yards on the game’s first play from scrimmage, but White Hall was unable to pick up another first down and was forced to punt. Junior Joseph Failla’s punt was fumbled by Monticello and recovered by White Hall — or so it appeared.
The play was called back for unknown reasons and the Billies fielded Failla’s second punt cleanly.
With Monticello leading 7-6 early in the second quarter, the Billies were forced to punt. As Ryan Case punted the ball, a White Hall player collided with him. The officials ruled that the Bulldogs’ player had deflected the kick, which eliminates the possibility of calling a roughing or running into the kicker penalty.
White Hall drove down the field and took the lead for good on a 51-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Kirk Baugh to senior Irvin Tisdale. White Hall attempted a fake extra point attempt and Tisdale successfully ran in for two points to give the Bulldogs a 14-7 lead.
The Tisdale touchdown capped a short but eventful drive for the Bulldogs.
On the drive’s second play, Edgerson recovered his own fumble and on the following play Antoine Luster caught a 16-yard pass for a first down.
Luster’s catch at the 49-yard line set up Tisdale’s catch-and-run.
On the ensuing kickoff, Omar Simpson was tackled inside Monticello’s one-yard line. Two plays later, White Hall pressure forced Billies quarterback Imani Riley to attempt a pass as he was taken to the ground. Riley was called for intentional grounding, and because the infraction occurred in the end zone, a safety was called, giving White Hall a 16-7 lead.
An interception by Monticello helped set up the game’s first score.
Monticello defensive back Jalen Handley intercepted Baugh near midfield and returned in 19 yards to set up the Billies.
Riley hit Justin Berry with a 13-yard pass. Riley then carried the ball seven yards to the 12-yard line. On the next play, Simpson ran in for a touchdown. Case’s extra point put the Billies up 7-0 with just over five minutes left in the first quarter.
“I thought we started off well,” Monticello coach Greg Tiner said. “Don’t know what it was, but we had a couple of chances that we didn’t convert.
“Things just started to unravel from there.”