No. 6 Bulldogs' dream season ends against Mark Twain

This had been a season of venturing into new territory for the No. 6 ranked South Callaway Bulldogs. The 10-2 Bulldogs were conference and district champions for the first time in school history in 2010. And with their 41-21 victory over Clopton/Elsburry last Wednesday, the Bulldogs found themselves in the Class 2 sectionals for the first time in school history.

Unfortunately for them, the run ended on Monday night against the Mark Twain Tigers. South Callaway never quite could get the offense going while the Tigers cashed in on mistakes and controlled the clock on their way to a 28-6 victory in the Class 2 sectionals on Monday night.

The Bulldogs opening offensive play was a sign of things to come for them. A fumbled exchange from quarterback Jason Kimminau to his running back hit the ground and went into the hands of Mark Twain at the South Callaway 30-yard line. The Tigers (8-4) took their time out of the wishbone offense and crossed the goal line on an 11-yard touchdown run from fullback Shaun Nesbit to make the score 6-0 after a failed two-point conversion run attempt.

It looked as if the Tigers were going to return the favor in spotting some free field position after an apparent South Callaway three and out. The Bulldogs punt grazed the leg of a Mark Twain player and ended up in the hands of South Callaway at the Tigers 34-yard line.

Coach Tim Rulo’s squad, little by little, made it into the red zone and had appeared to seize the momentum when Kimminau found junior wide receiver Cody Waterson in the end zone for a 19-yard score. But a pair of offsetting penalties—an illegal procedure on South Callaway and a pass interference on Mark Twain—negated the score and Kimminau was sacked two plays later on fourth down to end the drive.

A seven-yard run by Tigers running back Steven Phillips, his first of three scores on the day, made it 14-0 at halftime. The Tigers came right out after halftime and drove deep into South Callaway territory. But opportunity came again for the Bulldogs when Mark Twain fumbled on a first-and-10 from the 12. The Bulldogs recovered the punt and got their biggest spark of the game from Kimminau.

The signal caller took a quarterback keeper off the left side of his offensive line and sprinted 47 yards to the Mark Twain 39-yard line. After taking a hard hit on the very next play, quarterback Konrad Kemper took over but couldn’t get the Bulldogs in the end zone, instead throwing an interception to Mark Twain’s Dustin Wisdom at the TIgers 10-yard line, one of three South Callaway turnovers on the day.

In the third quarter, the Tigers ran 20 plays to the Bulldogs seven, milking the clock and not leaving the Bulldogs much time to get an offensive rhythm going. A 37-yard touchdown pass from to Phillips from Tigers quarterback Tyler Jamison was the back breaker for South Callaway. Philips added another score on a 65-yard touchdown run with 8:23 left in the fourth quarter to make it 28-0 after another failed two-point conversion.

South Callaway avoided a shutout with a four-yard run by Kemper with three and half minutes left in the fourth quarter. Mark Twain will face Macon in the Class 2 quarterfinals on Saturday.

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