CARTHAGE, Tx - With a spot in the 7-on-7 Division II State Tournament in College Station already locked up and set to begin on July 19, the Carthage Bulldogs are all about fine-tuning their game in the next four weeks.
Carthage participated in their last night of league competition on Thursday evening at Bulldog Stadium and posted a 2-2 record against Marshall and Evangel Christian Academy high schools. Evangel finished a perfect 3-0 on the night, while Marshall was winless at 0-3.
Like they have in the previous two weeks, the Dawgs had their way with Marshall. Carthage posted wins of 20-0 and 13-6 over the Mavs on the hot home artificial turf.
However, the competition against Evangel was another story as the Eagles took two victories over the Bulldogs, 20-6 and 26-7. Evangel also knocked off Marshall, 20-8.
Despite the losses to the Eagles, Carthage defensive back/receiver Tee Goree said it will help the team prepare for what may come at the state tourney.
"(Evangel) runs a lot of crossing routes and they're so fundamentally sound that it's tough to defend them," Goree stated. "But it makes us see the situation so when we go to the state tournament we'll have seen it and it'll prepare us for when somebody else that might try the same thing."
Carthage junior-to-be quarterback Blake Bogenschutz threw seven touchdown passes during the four games. He completed 35-of-60 (58.3%) passes and helped the Dawgs record 18 first downs.
Bulldog opponents completed 39-of-70 (55.7%) passes for eight scores and 22 first downs.
Major Harris was on the receiving end of a pair of touchdowns from Bogenschutz, while also recording two extra points. O’Keeron Rutherford scored twice and also added a point-after.
Sammy Chhor, Tee Goree and Tevin Pipkin each added one touchdown, while Trevor Cooper added a conversion catch.
"We're getting better as the summer goes on," Goree noted. "We started off alright, but we weren't playing as good as we are right now.
"We started working harder in workouts during the day and started getting better and better and playing more as a team."
Here's a rundown of the Bulldogs' action Thursday evening:
Evangel 20, Carthage 6 - The Eagles bolted out to a 13-0 lead and then held off a late rally by Carthage to grab the opener.
Bogenschutz connected on 9-of-15 passes, hitting Chhor for a scored with five minutes remaining to cut the Evangel lead to 13-6.
But the Eagles chewed up most of the remaining running clock by driving in for a final score of the night on an 18-yard touchdown pass.
The Evangel quarterback had a hot hand, completing 11-of-14 passes for three touchdowns.
Carthage 20, Marshall 0 - The Bulldog bounced back despite playing back-to-back games in the intense heat, blanking Marshall, 20-0.
Three different Bulldogs found the endzone on the receiving end of Bogenschutz passes. The CHS signal caller completed 9-of-14 passes and led the team to six first downs.
Rutherford hauled in a 27-yards scoring pass on the game's first drive. Harris added his first score of the night on the Dawgs' next drive, scoring on a crossing pattern from eight yards out. He also added the point-after catch to increase the lead to 13-0.
After stopping the Mavericks without a first down, Bogenschutz directed the team to another score, this one a four-yard pass to Goree. The extra point pass was deflected, but Cooper found it to put the final point on the board.
Evangel 26, Carthage 7 - The Eagles once again jumped out in front by two touchdowns on Carthage, but the Dawgs cut the deficit to 13-7. Evangel then pulled away.
Harris hauled in his second scoring reception of the night on an 8-yard pass. Rutherford tacked on the extra point to trim the lead to 13-7.
But the Evangel quarterback, who completed 11-of-14 passes for four touchdowns in the game, directed his team to two final scoring drives.
Carthage 13, Marshall 6 - Scoring tosses to Pipkin and Rutherford enabled the Bulldogs to even their record at 2-2 on the day with a 13-6 win over the Mavericks.
Bogenschutz, who completed 10-of-16 passes in the game, hit Pipkin for an 8-yard scoring toss and Harris' point after created a 7-0 lead.
After holding Marshall on the 5-yard line, Bogenschutz completed three passes to Keldrean Strong and then found Rutherford on an 'out' pattern for a short scoring toss.
Marshall scored late and then had one more chance to go for the possible win. But a throw in the endzone on the final play was knocked away by Chhor.
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