They practiced with a wet ball all week and threw the ball two times the entire.
And it worked.
Behind a potent rushing attack the Bulldogs shutout Mendenhall 15-0 in a monsoon on Friday in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
The game was delayed 30 minutes at kickoff due to lightning in the area.
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Vancleave (5-7) will host Purvis next week in the second round. The Tornadoes eliminated the Bulldogs last season.
“Just came prepared. Our offensive line did a great job blocking, and we were able to get stops on defense,” said Vancleave coach Lavon Capers. “I cannot be more proud of my guys for their effort in these types of conditions.”
Vancleave running back Dylon Mallette had 169 yards rushing on 39 carries with a touchdown to lead the Bulldogs offensively.
“I can’t thank my offensive line enough,” Mallette said. “They opened up holes and I was able to get some good reads and just use my speed.”
Mallette had the games first score on a 2-yard run with 11:32 left in the second quarter that gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
A big key in the game tonight was the turnover battle. Mendenhall had two turnovers (one fumble, one interception). Vancleave had none.
“That is huge is to win the turnover battle,” Mallette said. “We knew if we could just come in and run our style of offense and play mistake free we would be fine.”
Quarterback Parker Bourque added the other Bulldog touchdown scoring on a 1-yard run with 4:17 left in the third quarter, the 2-point conversion was good by Mallette that put the Bulldogs up 15-0.
The Vancleave held Mendenhall to just 144 yards of total offense.
“Defense played outstanding tonight,” Capers said. “Mendenhall is a outstanding team and we came to play and wanted it more than they did.”
Damario Owens had 129 yards rushing to lead Mendenhall (7-5).