South Callaway hadn't rushed for 200 yards in a game going into its home opener Friday in Week 3 against Louisiana. One Bulldog broke that threshold.
Senior Trace Helsel led the South Callaway rushing attack — that ran for a total of 395 yards — with his 221 yards on 29 carries and four touchdowns in South Callaway's 34-12 win. This followed his 101-yard game a week ago against North Callaway.
Head coach said Trace Helsel does a great job of running between the tackles and when he is determined to go farther, it is really hard to bring him down.
"Trace is kind of like a bowling ball," Hess said. "He bounces off guys and he jumps over guys. He does a great job just reading where his running lane is and he's hard to tackle one-on-one."
Helsel and the Bulldogs wouldn't have to wait long for their first score.
South Callaway tried to get something going early thanks to a mistake from the Louisiana offense. The quarterback dropped the snap on the first play from scrimmage and the Bulldogs fell on it at around the 30-yard line. Three plays later and senior running back Trace Helsel scored his first touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead not a minute in to the game.
The Louisiana punter pinned South Callaway deep in its own territory within the 20-yard line, but that didn't stop the Bulldogs from marching down the field to get within the 10-yard line after a long run by junior quarterback Sam Buckner. Buckner brought it in from one yard out to give the Bulldogs a 15-0 lead.
Louisiana was able to get a man in space on a 40-yard touchdown pass to trim its deficit to 15-6 on the first play of the second quarter.
South Callaway then lost its own fumble to give Louisiana a short field at the Bulldogs' 30-yard line. Louisiana took it to the four-yard line and was threatening to get back in the game. South Callaway didn't allow them to cross the plane to take the ball back.
Helsel would refuse to go down before scoring his second touchdown to cap off a 12-play 80-yard drive,reaching the ball over the goal line, to make it 21-6 South Callaway with less than three minutes to go in the third quarter.
The defense would once again bend but not break as Louisiana had the ball at 4-yard line with four shots to score for the second time of the quarter. They would be unsuccessful. Louisiana didn't have much room to maneuver both times as South Callaway kept pushing them backward.
Hess said South Callaway has been on the short end of the goal line stand, and those have proven to be real momentum-shifters, including in the Bulldogs' win Friday.
"It's hard to overcome those plays and then you do it twice, it's such a huge momentum swing. I'm just real proud of how they didn't give up. (Louisiana) got down there real close, and (South Callaway) just kept fighting and things worked out real well for us."
Helsel would not be satisfied after the first half. South Callaway kept feeding him and its other running backs the ball to march down the field on its first second-half drive. From 36 yards out, Helsel ran for his third touchdown, making it 27-6 South Callaway.
Louisiana stayed out of the trenches around the goal line and aired out a 59-yard pass and then a scoring 20-yard pass to bring the score to 27-12.
After Louisiana's amazing special teams play in the first quarter, the polar opposite occurred on a botched squib kick, and South Callaway had the ball at Louisiana 49. Defenders were draped on Helsel, but he carried them with him. He had his fourth touchdown from 6 yards out to widen the South Callaway lead to 34-12.
There was one more quarter to play.
Three Louisiana turnovers — four in the game — and a 46-yard in the fourth quarter stifled any possible comeback.
Now they have that first win in the books, Hess said the team can be jovial about winning in front of the home crowd, but the team can't be satisfied with the one win and shore up areas they are lacking. South Callaway had too many penalties, according to Hess, including an unsportmanlike conduct one, and three fumbles, which is still too many by Hess' and the Bulldogs' standards.
"We can't be satisfied with one win," Hess said. "It takes a little bit of pressure off, but at the same time, we have to keep working. We have a young team that has a lot of potential and a lot of room for improvement."
Buckner, 70 yards on 12 carries, and senior Chrisjen Davis, 46 yards on five carries, were other key rushing options in the game for South Callaway.