A 17-hour delayed start to the 2019 season failed to stop the Douglas Bulldogs who thumped the Tanque Verde Hawks 49-7 Saturday at Armando de Lucas Stadium.
The game was originally scheduled for Friday night, but Mother Nature ended that with her lightning display which with every strike that was witnessed, pushed kickoff back 30 minutes finally to the point school and game officials agreed to postpone the game to Saturday.
Admission was free to Saturday’s game and a respectable sized crowd showed up to see Douglas’ new head coach Hunter Long and his staff coach their very first game.
After getting a congratulatory soaking from his team captains afterwards the new coach admitted it was a lot different standing on the sidelines coaching instead of calling defensive formations as he once did when he played for the Bulldogs 2008-2010.
“It was different (being on the sidelines),” he said. “I definitely wanted to strap on the pads and be out there with them. I was even having dreams about it last night being out there with these guys. I had butterflies in my stomach even though I was doing the game planning instead of playing.”
The coach said getting that first win under his belt feels great and it has now officially sunk in that he is the head coach of the Douglas Bulldogs, a team that he once played for and to this day, is 100 percent committed to.
Long admitted he and his players were somewhat frustrated by not being able to play Friday night, but he is extremely proud of how his players remained focused and came out Saturday and played the way they did.
“It doesn’t matter what time of day it is we play; we’re going to be ready to go,” he said.
The Bulldogs scored the first seven times they had the ball Saturday, leading 49-0 at one point.
Douglas took the opening drive of the game and drove 80-yards in 13 plays, chewing up over eight minutes on the game clock. Junior Jesus Berthley, who had 11 carries on the opening drive, scored the first touchdown of the season from five-yards out. Joaquin Escalante’s successful extra point kick gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
After forcing Tanque Verde to turn the ball over on downs on its first drive of the game, DHS quarterback Trey Rose needed just one play to hook up with Alejandro Molina for a 57-yard TD strike, increasing the Bulldogs lead to 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Two second quarter scores from Berthley, who scored from eight-yards out and another Rose to Molina 56-yard TD strike padded Douglas’ lead to 28-0 at the half.
Senior Christian Estrella had a 49-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and in the fourth, Rose scored on a 19-yard quarterback keeper and Rey Ozuna plunged into the endzone from a yard-out giving the Bulldogs a 49-0 lead.
With a running clock now in effect, Tanque Verde scored with less than 30 seconds left in the game, averting the shutout.
Long said after the game a lot of his players had a good opener and put up some impressive numbers.
The Bulldogs had 394-yards in total offense Saturday running for 282 and passing for 112. Rose was two of three in passing for 112-yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Both receptions went to Molina who had two TD’s in the game and also intercepted a Tanque Verde pass. Rushing, Berthely had 21 carries for 144-yards and two TD’s; Estrella three carries for 88-yards and a score, and Ozuna three for 21-yards and a TD.
“Trey led our offense beautifully today,” the coach said. “We wanted to play smash mouth football and control the clock and we did that.”
Next up for Long and the Bulldogs is the 150th meeting with the Bisbee Pumas this Friday in Bisbee.
“We’re going to enjoy this win today, but we’re going to have a short-term memory and turnaround and get locked in for Bisbee,” he said. “Monday it will be all work, all business.”
Advance tickets for the Bisbee game are available at the Douglas High School Bookstore. Cost is $4 for adults, $3 for senior citizens and $2 for students. Hours tickets are available are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.