By Matthew Harrell
Everything outside of the Bulldogs’ control fell into place for the Bulldogs to make the second playoff appearance in program history. Wins by Franklin County and Trenton and a loss by Chiefland made Bell’s game at Wildwood the equivalent of a regional semifinal.
But, with everything within reach, the Bulldogs repeatedly shot themselves in the foot with personal fouls and turnovers en route to getting embarrased by Wildwood 43-0.
Still, the game was tight for most of the first half, with Wildwood leading 8-0 with two minutes left in the first half before a Wildcats touchdown made it 14-0.
Bell fumbled the ball away on the ensuing possession and the wheels started to come off.
A touchdown pass on the ensuing Wildwood possession made it 22-0.
Then, on a deep kickoff, the Wildcats recovered the loose ball as Bell players stood over it. Wildwood scored on the next play, their second score in the final 20 seconds of the half, to extend their lead to 28-0.
The Wildcats turned the ball over on downs on the first possession of the second, giving Bell a short field. But a fumbled snap was recovered by Wildwood and returned for a touchdown, giving Wildwood a 36-0 lead.
Bell fumbled the ball away again on the next possession and the Wildcats returned it to the Bell five-yard line.
The Wildcats scored on a short touchdown pass to extend the lead to 43-0, the eventual final score.
The Bulldogs were held to 141 yards of offense: 137 yards rushing and four yards passing.
Wildwood finishes the season at 9-0, the Wildcats’ first undefeated season since 1985, after going 0-10 last season and just one year removed from canceling their entire varsity season due to low numbers.
The loss gives Bell a sixth-place finish in Region 3-1A and puts the Bulldogs’ final record at 4-6 for the third season in a row.