It was homecoming Friday night for the Douglas Bulldogs who were hosting Pueblo in the traditional D-Day game at Armando de Lucas Stadium.
A series of second half mistakes allowed Pueblo to overcome a 7-6 halftime deficit and come away with a 39-14 win.
Friday’s game was also the Gila Regional opener for both teams and the Bulldogs had 11 of the 15 players that were injured, back.
Pueblo took the opening drive of the game and drove 80-yards in 12 plays chewing up five minutes, 56 seconds, scoring on a three-yard touchdown run. The Warriors opted to go for the two-point conversion, coming up short and led 6-0.
The Bulldogs took the opening possession using the remainder of the time in the first quarter. A 41-yard field goal attempt into the second quarter was blocked by the Pueblo defense.
With 96 seconds remaining in the half, Bulldog quarterback Trey Rose hit Christian Estrella for a 14-yard touchdown pass. Joaquin Escalante’s successful extra point kick gave the Bulldogs a 7-6 lead at the half.
At halftime, this year’s homecoming royalty and dedicatee were honored. The senior class royalty this year was Katherine Toscano and Brian Luna; junior class royalty, Jackie Pena and Andre De La Cruz; sophomore royalty, Taylor Hernandez and Juan Chacon, and the freshmen royalty was Maria Elena Campbell and Paulino Ramon.
This year’s king and queen were: Trey Rose and Damariz Miranda; first attendants, Brendy Berthely and Daniel Larez; second attendants, Cariela Miramontes and Francisco Lugo.
This year’s homecoming dedicatee was Bruce Whetten, longtime editor for the Douglas Dispatch, who was covering his 33rd consecutive Douglas High School homecoming.
Two plays into the second half, the Bulldogs fumbled and Pueblo recovered. Douglas’ defense forced Pueblo into a fourth and 18 from their own 49. Back to back offsides penalties against the Bulldogs gave the Warriors a fourth and eight and instead of punting as they were going to do, Pueblo instead opted to go for it, getting the first down. Five plays later, Pueblo scored taking a 12-7 lead.
The Warriors tacked on two more scores before the quarter ended, taking a 24-7 lead into the fourth quarter.
Pueblo led 32-7 when Rose hit Alejandro Molina for a 47-yard TD pass, cutting the lead to 32-14.
The Warriors, not satisfied being up 32-14, scored again with 1:40 remaining taking a 39-14 lead.
Douglas’ head coach Hunter Long was experiencing a different feeling Friday night, instead of playing, he was now coaching.
He admits it was vastly different experience and stated those two penalties against Douglas when Pueblo had a fourth down, were momentum shifters.
“There are always a few plays every game that will change the momentum of it and, unfortunately for us, those two penalties killed us and for some reason, we couldn’t bounce back,” he said. “We fought and we fought hard all night long but the fundamental mistakes that we made tonight killed us,”
Long said he is disappointed he could not provide a win for the fans on homecoming night.
Next up for the Bulldogs, 2-4 overall, 0-1 in region play, will be a trip to Walden Grove this Friday night.
Walden Grove won its conference opener last week beating Rio Rico 42-9.