Live Oak —
Those who enjoy football under the lights were not disappointed with Friday night’s thriller in a conference matchup between the Suwannee County Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0 in district) and the Santa Fe Raiders (2-1). For the first time in many years, Suwannee County is 2-0 thus far in the season.
Suwannee County got the ball to begin the contest. Aaron McAllister brought the ball out to their own 28-yard line on the kickoff return. A five yard penalty on the ‘Dogs moved the ball back. A deep pass by quarterback Steven Anderson was intercepted by the Raiders, and they got the ball at their own 44-yard line.
The Bulldogs’ defense held the Raiders to a four-and-out, and a quarterback sack on fourth down gave the Bulldogs the ball back at their own 48-yard line. On third down, Suwannee was able to run for a first down, however, they fumbled the ball, giving it back to the Raiders.
With 4:23 left to go, the Bulldogs got the ball and started driving it down the field. Starting at their own 21-yard line, a false start penalty moved them back to the 16-yard line.
Suwannee County turned the ball over twice in the first quarter. Both teams were held scoreless.
Running backs Denzel Washington and Jai Kinsey made some big plays that got the team into the red zone, but their drive ended with a field goal attempt that was blocked less than a minute into the second quarter.
The Bulldogs’ defense held the Raiders to four-and-out, and Suwannee got the ball with 9:36 left in the quarter. On third and long, Anderson completed a pass to Wide receiver Daquez Strickland for a first down to keep the drive moving. A fumbled snap was recovered by the ‘Dogs and gained about eight yards on the play. Suwannee ended their drive to the red zone when a pass to a Bulldog bounced from his hands into the air and was intercepted by a player from the visiting team. The Raiders carried the ball into the end zone for a quick touchdown with 3:36 left to go. Santa Fe attempted a two-point conversion, but it failed. The touchdown put Santa Fe up 6-0.
Running back Justin Martin made two big carries that gave Suwannee a first down, but a deep pass landed in the hands of the visiting team. This would have been the fourth turnover of the game, but a 15-yard penalty on the Raiders put the ball back in Suwannee’s possession.
With just a few seconds left before halftime, the Bulldogs fell short of putting points on the board.
Santa Fe got the ball to start the second half, but the third quarter proved to be a battle of the defenses.
A penalty moved the Raiders back to their own 15-yard line. The ball fell into the hands of a Bulldog, however, it bounced from his hands into the hands of the Raiders and they were able to convert for a first down. The Bulldogs’ defense held the Raiders to several plays with tackles for loss, and forced them to punt the ball.
Suwannee went four-and-out on their possession. With 5:25 left to go, the Raiders were forced to punt the ball.
Both teams were unable to score in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs struggled to get their offense going until late in the fourth quarter.
Santa Fe had the ball and made short gains. The Raiders’ drive was plagued with penalties, which resulted in the visiting team punting the ball. With 1:18 left on the clock, the Raiders fumbled the snap, and the Bulldogs picked the ball up and carried it into the end zone for six points. The extra point attempt was blocked, and the score was tied at 6-6.
Santa Fe got the ball at the 10 yard line to begin in overtime. On their first play, the Bulldogs held them for a loss of yards. Two short runs put the visiting team near the goal line, but they were unable to convert on fourth down.
Suwannee then got the ball at the 10. A run by Anderson put the Bulldogs at the five yard line. The ‘Dogs then walked the ball into the end zone for a touchdown, making the final score 12-6.
"We're very excited about the start our football team has gotten off to, and town of Live Oak should be as well. It's simply a testament to the work these coaches and players have put in during the off-season, especially in the weight room," said SHS Athletic Director Hunter Abercrombie. "Being here day in and day out, you can see the strides that have been made. Obviously, it's been a while since we've been 2-0 to start the year, and the kids have accomplished that without playing their best football, so I certainly think the best is yet to come. While it's still early, I'm very proud of the program and the direction I believe we're headed."
According to Maxpreps, 2007 was the last season Suwannee started the season 2-0. That year, they went on to achieve a 5-4 record. This is only the second time since 2004 SHS has achieved a 2-0 record.