WHITE HALL — Two big defensive stands by White Hall in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference as the Bulldogs held off Little Rock Christian 31-28 at Bulldog Stadium on Friday night.
“I thought our defense played hard in the second half,” White Hall head coach Mike Vaughn said. “We could have easily given up, but they fought like crazy.”
With 3:13 left in the game, White Hall’s Devin Buckner intercepted a pass and returned it to the opponent’s 9-yard line for a first-and-goal. Unfortunately, White Hall (2-0) fumbled it three plays later and Little Rock Christian had the ball back at its own 35-yard line with 1:20 left.
Warriors quarterback Houston Angel had three straight incomplete passes and was nearly sacked on fourth down to turn the ball over on downs back to White Hall with less than a minute to go.
“I thought our kids played hard,” Vaughn said. “Right at the end, they really did a good job.
“Our secondary is so green. (Buckner) is only one who played at all last year and he did a good job. But the rest of them are brand new.
“You take a team like this, that is well schooled in the passing game, and they can pick you apart. They got us a couple of times.”
White Hall led 31-14 at the end of the first half but failed to score at all in the second half as Little Rock Christian (1-1) rattled off 14 unanswered points.
“Got to give Little Rock Christian some kudos there,” Vaughn said. “Little Rock Christian is a part of that. You just don’t go out there and do it on your own.
“I thought they made some great adjustments at halftime and the adjustments they did worked well.”
The Warriors trimmed the lead to 10 points with 4:51 left in the third quarter, when Angel ran untouched up the middle for a 2-yard score to make 31-21.
The score capped off a 15-play drive for the Warriors after White Hall had come up empty on its opening possession of the second half.
“The whole second half was basically around that first series of the third quarter,” Vaughn said. “After they kicked it off to us, we had an opportunity to finish them off probably because they are struggling and we don’t.
“Then we give up a quick one and from there it was a dog fight.”
Angel scored all four touchdowns for the Warriors with two through the air and then two more on the ground. His final score of the night was a 3-yard touchdown run with 1:32 left in the third quarter to make it 31-28.
“He did a good job,” Vaughn said. “He is a good athlete. I think they are going to win some games.
“They don’t have a lot of speed, but they work well with what they got.”
Angel also completed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Graham with 5:14 left in the first quarter and completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Joe Hampton with 10:31 left in the second quarter.
White Hall got on the board first after a 46-yard touchdown run by junior Kendrick Edgerson with 8:42 left in the first quarter. It gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
Edgerson finished the night with 151 yards on 18 carries with three touchdowns.
All three of his scores came in the first half.
“We just didn’t do much in the second half,” Vaughn said. “We didn’t block well at times and when we did block well, we made mistakes.
“We just didn’t execute tonight.”
Edgerson had a 1-yard touchdown run with 1:26 left in the first quarter and a 12-yard run for a score with 2:09 left in the first half.
“With an offense like this, as many weapons as we have, we got no excuse for not scoring,” Vaughn said. “We need to put points up on the board against everybody and we didn’t do that.”
With less than 8 minutes left in the first half, White Hall was credited with a safety after a snap went over the head of the punter’s head. It gave White Hall a 23-14 lead.
White Hall senior Irvin Tisdale had eight carries for 39 yards and three catches for 48 yards with one touchdown. Quarterback Kirk Baugh was 10 of 15 with one touchdown and had six carries for 61 yards.
“I think our kids got a little complacent and so did I, so did the coaches,” Vaughn said. “We don’t intend to, but that happens sometimes.”
White Hall will host 6A-South opponent Sheridan next Friday at 7 p.m.