BENNINGTON – The Bennington Bulldogs (2-3) rattled off 22 unanswered points in the opening half on its way to handing the Solomon Gorillas (4-1) its first loss of the season 38-20 on Homecoming Night in Bennington.
The first quarter went scoreless between the two 8-Man I District 4 teams. The tempo of the game was back and forth with each teams defense holding the opponent out of the end zone.
“We came out pretty jacked up to open the game,” Solomon head coach Mike Kilgore said. “We did some things good defensively and we held them. But we made some mistakes tonight that capitalized on.”
Bennington junior running back Jawuan Allen helped the Bulldogs break the tie early in the second period as he lofted a halfback pass to junior receiver Cayden Bauer for a 10-yard touchdown. Ryker Greene ran in the conversion to give Bennington an 8-0 lead in the game.
Bennington offensive player of the game, sophomore running back Jaden Raccagno, scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns of the evening when he scooted in for a four-yard score just three minutes later. Raccagno added a 36-yard scoring run later in the period and capped off his night with a 16-yard score in the fourth quarter.
Raccagno ran the ball 20 times for the Bulldogs for 120 yards, as Bennington was able to put up 200 yards on the ground against the Gorillas. Allen had 62 yards rushing on 12 carries and quarterback Ryker Greene added 18 yards to the Bulldog total.
With time running out in the first half and trailing 22-0, Solomon’s Dylan Hynes found freshman receiver Spencer Coup on a 34-yard touchdown pass as time expired. After missing the conversion, Solomon trailed 6-22 at halftime.
Bennington opened the second half scoring with a 20-yard touchdown throw from Greene to Bauer with 5:09 remaining in the period, Greene found Allen for the conversion to give the Bulldogs a 30-6 advantage.
There was eight second remaining in the quarter when Solomon’s Herbel connected with a streaking Dawson Duryea for a 35-yard catch and score. Herbel connected with Coup for the two-point conversion but Bennington led 30-14.
Allen broke tackles and rushed for a 21-yard sprint up the sideline to set up the Bulldogs final touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter. Two plays later Raccagno bolted into the end zone from 16-yards out to give Bennington a 38-14 lead.
Solomon took over on downs with 1:56 remaining in the game and Herbel ran three times covering 54 yards for the final score. Herbel ran into the end zone from 17 yards out to pull the Gorillas to 20-38.
“We had some turnovers tonight and they came out and did some things offensively that we weren’t prepared for, that’s on me,” Kilgore said. “I didn’t put the kids in a good position to be successful in the game. I’ll take ownership on that one.”
Herbel ran for a score and threw for one on the night for Solomon as he picked up 86 yards on the ground and his 35-yard touchdown throw to Duryea. Hynes had 48 yards on the ground and the scoring toss to Coup. Coup ran three times for 24 yards.
Defensively for the Gorillas, Hynes led his team with 13 tackles including two for loss. Coup finished with seven stops and Jacob Smith and Jarrett Baxa had six each.
Bennington’s Homecoming King Tryston Young had a big night for the Bulldogs on defense including a sack. Terren Andrews finished with nine tackles and Raccagno ended with five stops.
Solomon (4-1, 1-1) will host Lincoln (3-2, 1-1) on Friday while Bennington (2-3, 1-1) heads to Little River (3-2, 1-1).
“This district is going to come down to the wire, which is great.” Kilgore said. “That’s great football. We are going to take the loss here tonight, learn from it and move on to prepare for Lincoln.”
Contact Ron Preston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bennington 38, Solomon 20
Solomon 0 6 8 6 - 20
Bennington 0 22 8 8 - 38
B – Bauer 10 pass from Allen. (Greene run.)
B – Raccagno 4 run. (Greene run).
B – Raccagno 36 run. (Pass failed.)
S – Coup 34 pass from Hynes. (Run failed.)
B – Bauer 20 pass from Greene. (Allen pass from Greene.)
S – Duryea 35 pass from Herbel. (Coup pass from Herbel.)
B – Raccagno 16 run. (Bauer pass from Greene.)
S – Herbel 17 run. (Run failed.)