The Douglas Bulldogs had a rough start to the 2012 season falling 47-21 to the Empire Ravens Friday night at Douglas High School.
Dylan Guerrero eludes a tackle in the Bulldogs season opener with Empire Friday night. The Bulldogs lost the game 47-21. Bruce Whetten/Douglas Dispatch
The first score came just over two minutes into the game when sophomore quarterback Blaze Rose was forced to scramble and as a result fumbled the ball allowing Empire to score taking an early 7-0 lead.
The Bulldogs took the ensuing drive and drove from the Ravens 36 down to the Bulldog five-yard line before two penalties and two sacks pushed Douglas back to its 24 where it would eventually turn the ball over on downs.
Empire would score again just before the first quarter ended. The missed extra point gave the Ravens a 13-0 lead.
Douglas fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Empire would take advantage of that miscue to score a TD increasing its lead to 20-0.
Hector Vasquez would get the Bulldogs on the board a short while later scoring on a 38-yard fumble return. Rose’s extra point would cut Empire’s lead to 20-7 at the half.
The Ravens opened up the second half with a 69-yard drive eventually scoring from two-yards out pushing their lead back up to 20.
The Bulldogs countered on their next drive as Rose hooked up with Mark Romero on a 10-yard touchdown pass. The missed extra point made the score 27-13.
Empire would counter with a score and then add another 45 seconds into the fourth increasing its lead to 40-13.
Rose would find senior Matt Nelson for a four yard TD pass on the ensuing drive. Rose and Nelson would then team up for the two-point conversion as Douglas would score its 21st point of the game.
Empire would score again before the game ended taking a 26-point lead.
The Ravens would finish with 302 yards in total offense; 266 coming on the ground.
Douglas would finish with 248 yards in total offense with 158 coming on the ground and 90 through the air.
Rose was nine of 19 in passing with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Romero would finish with six catches for 58 yards; Dylan Guerrero had two for 29 and Nelson one for four.
Guerrero would finish with 16 carries for 131 yards; Ozzie Moreno four for 19 and Nick Ortega three for eight.
After the game Douglas’ Coach Dick Keith said there was not a whole lot to say except that Empire handed it to the Bulldogs.
“They came in, they brought their game and we didn’t and we have work to do,” he said.
The coach said his team needs to do a better job of blocking and tackling.
“I thought Blaze had a great game,” the coach said. “He was a little nervous at the beginning but he settled down and threw a great ball.”
The coach did take a moment to address those questioning his decision to put Blaze at quarterback.
“Since I am the Douglas High School coach Blaze is the Douglas High School quarterback,” he said. “Regardless of what anybody says in the newspaper comments. Blaze is going to be the Douglas High School quarterback this season.”
Douglas’ defensive coach Levi Salazar said once again his team did not do a good job of wrapping up and tackling the Empire runners.
“That’s coming from practice where they’re not going hard because they don’t want to hurt each other but it’s showing out on the field,” he said. “We just told them right now we have to get at it and if we get physical at practice we’re going to get physical in the game.”
Douglas, 0-1, heads to Safford this Friday night for a showdown with another team called the Bulldogs.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.