By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun
For one brief moment, Steven Hutson’s blocked punt return for a touchdown gave the Wortham Bulldogs momentum and some hope.
Overton just had too many answers on offense.
Wortham’s defense played well most of the evening, but big plays hurt them in a 34-7 loss to Overton in a Region III-1A DII Bi-district playoff game on Thursday night at Palestine’s Wildcat Stadium.
Wortham finished the season with a 4-7 record in Shane Doege’s first year as the Bulldogs head coach. Overton (6-5) moves on and will play Tenaha in the area round of the playoffs.
Overton bolted out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead as the Mustangs converted two key fourth-down conversions and quarterback KJ Lusher tossed two touchdown passes.
Wortham swung the momentum the next time Overton had the ball, forcing a punt. Hutson crashed up the middle and blocked the punt, scooped up the ball at Overton 5 and coasted into the end zone to cut Overton’s lead to 14-7.
Big plays doomed Wortham the rest of the half. Kelly, who had 113 of his game-high 163 yards in the first half, scored on a 17-yard run for a 22-7 lead after Jesse Roach scored on the two-point conversion with 4:00 to go in the half.
Overton then made a crushing play on third-and-16 with two minutes in the half as Lusher threw a screen pass to Damion Dennis, who broke through the secondary for a 60-yard touchdown for a 28-7 lead with 1:26 left in the first half.
Wortham put together a nice drive at the end of the half as Campbell ran and passed the Bulldogs from their own 35 to a first-and-goal at the Overton 10. But with 14 seconds left in the half and out of timeouts, Campbell dumped off a pass to Brysen Rhodes, who was able to gain just one yard as the clock ran out to end the half.
Wortham couldn’t get the offense going in the second half, and Kelly scored the last touchdown on a 3-yard run with 6:24 left in the third quarter.
Wortham’s defense opened the game in stirring fashion, forcing a three-and-out on Overton’s first possession. And Campbell rambled 16 yards on the Bulldogs’ first offensive play. Wortham stalled from there as Campbell lost five yards on fourth-and-5 at the Overton 36 to turn the ball back over to the Mustangs.
The Bulldogs appeared to make a big fourth-down stop at midfield as Lusher tried a quarterback sneak, but the officials gave the Mustangs a great spot at the Wortham 49.
The Mustangs capitalized on a second-and-one at the Wortham 40 as the Bulldogs were thinking short yardage and Overton tight end Julian Herndon got behind the secondary and Lusher threw a perfect pass for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead.
Campbell fumbled on Wortham’s next offensive play and Overton recovered at the Bulldog 28. Overton needed 10 plays to score, converting on another key fourth-and-one at the Wortham 7. Then on third-and-goal at the 12, Lusher dumped off a pass to Alex Yancey at the Wortham 1 and he bulldozed his way into the end zone.