By Matthew Harrell
Bell had not beaten Trenton since Sept. 5, 2008, when the Bulldogs won 23-16 in Bell.
The following year, Trenton returned the favor, scoring as time expired to beat Bell, 19-18. Trenton won the following eight games in the series to build up a nine-game winning streak, and most of the games had not been close.
But Friday night, the Dogs finally had their day, upsetting Trenton, 14-12, for their first win over the Tigers in 10 years.
It did not start off well for Bell, though. In fact, it started like most of the recent Bell-Trenton games had started.
The Bulldogs, with a quarterback making his first career start, received the opening kickoff, but lost a fumble in their own territory. Trenton took advantage of the short field with a Jordan Fulmer touchdown run to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead.
After a Bell interception, Fulmer scored again on an 80-yard touchdown run to give Trenton a 12-0 lead with 2:39 left in the first quarter.
After Bell turned the ball over on downs on its third possession, Trenton moved the ball near midfield. The Tigers attempted a jump pass which was tipped close to the line of scrimmage, then intercepted by Caden Hastings.
On its fourth possession, Bell finally picked up a first down. Later in the drive, Wyatt Thornton scored on a jet sweep to cut Trenton’s lead to 12-6 with 3:29 left in the half.
Trenton turned the ball over on downs on the ensuing possession and Bell followed by taking a knee to end the half.
The Bulldogs recovered an onside kick to start the second half. Even though it did not lead to points, it did allow Bell to pin Trenton close to its own 20.
The change in field position was important as Trenton fumbled for the seventh time in the game and Bell recovered for the first time, giving their offense its best starting position so far.
The Bulldogs took advantage of the short field as Mitchell Moore scored from 15 yards out to tie the game.
The Bulldogs looked like they had succeeded on the two-point conversion, but it was called back because of a holding penalty. Backed up to the 15-yard line, Moore found Brandon Ovwigho on a 13-yard in route and Ovwigho dove across the goal line to give Bell a 14-12 lead.
Rhett Rankin blocked Trenton’s punt on the ensuing possession, giving the Bulldogs the ball at the Trenton 17. But the Bulldogs failed to score to keep the game at 14-12.
From deep in their own territory, the Tigers marched toward midfield and looked like they had momentum at the end of the third quarter. But the break halted any juice the Tigers had as Tyreese Jackson was intercepted by Garrett Brooker for the Tigers’ third turnover of the game.
Things got hairy late in the fourth quarter.
After a Bell punt, Trenton moved the ball inside the Bulldogs’ red zone, but turned the ball over on downs.
On third down of the following Bell possession, the snap went through Moore’s legs and rolled back to the five-yard line, forcing the Bulldogs to punt out of their own end zone. The snap on the punt one-hopped to Thornton, who was able to field it cleanly and get the punt away.
Trenton moved the ball again, but fumbled for the eighth time deep in Bell territory for the fourth Tiger turnover of the game.
But after three and out, Bell was punting with 20 seconds left in the game. Thornton’s punt was blocked and recovered at the Bell 10 with less than 10 seconds to play.
The Tigers decided to kick a field goal for the win. Preston Blankenship lined up on the left hash for the go-ahead field, but pushed it to right and the Bulldogs held on for their first win over the Tigers in 10 years.
Trenton outgained Bell 318-175, but turned the ball over four times with two interceptions and two lost fumbles on eight total fumbles.
The win improves Bell’s record to 2-5. Trenton drops to 1-6 with the loss.
Bell travels to Branford this week. Trenton travels to Gainesville to take on P.K. Yonge. Both games start at 7:30.
Bell upsets Trenton, snaps nine-game losing streak to Tigers
By Matthew Harrell