Bulldogs come through on defense in second half

HOPE — White Hall came up with interceptions on three straight drives and shut out Hope in the second half to come away with a 35-21 victory in 5A-South Conference play Friday night.

With its victory and Watson Chapel’s 25-21 loss to Hot Springs Lakeside, White Hall is assured of second place in the league and will host a state playoff game in Week 1. White Hall reached the state semifinals a year ago.

Hope’s playoff hopes vanished with the loss.

The game was tied at 21 at halftime, but White Hall (7-1, 5-1 5A-South) scored off two interceptions to pull away from the Bobcats.

“We changed our coverage and just kind of got settled down,” White Hall assistant coach Scooter Vaughn said. “When they hit those two long ones on us, we didn’t communicate. It was busted coverage. The second half, we settled down and our defensive front got back after it. I don’t think they made two first downs in the second half.”

The Bobcats tied the Bulldogs at 14 in the second quarter after trailing 14-0, using a couple of long passes to get back in the game. White Hall opened the scoring on a 44-yard pass from Terrance Warren to Joseph Stewart and went up by two touchdowns on a 2-yard run by Warren.

In the second quarter, Quinton Winston returned a kickoff to the 1-foot line, and Warren punched the ball in the end zone from there to put White Hall up 21-14. Hope then tied the game before halftime.

In the second half, the defense rose to the occasion for the Bulldogs.

Neither team scored in the third quarter, but Shuquan Walls’ interception set up Stewart’s 25-yard touchdown run with about 8 minutes left in the game. Robert Dooms then picked off the Bobcats, and White Hall capitalized with a drive capped by Kendrick Edgerson’s 1-yard run with about 2 minutes remaining. Winston put on the finishing touches with the Bulldogs’ third interception.