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Iola wins Battle of the Bulldogs

September 20, 2023 - 00:00
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    Examiner photo by Shauna Berg Iola’s Blake Bennett picks up a block downfield during the Bulldogs 37-31 comeback win in Thorndale Sept. 15.

THORNDALE - Iola becomes top dog in a come from behind win over Thorndale, 37-31, on the road Sept. 15.

With Iola trailing, 31-29, Tyler Elliott scored on a 3-yard quarterback keeper. They punched in the conversion to seal the win, 38-31.

“We began to wear them down in the trenches and we felt like running the ball was the answer to scoring the last touchdown,” said Iola Head Coach Rex Sharp. “We mixed up the run with both Adrian [Garrett] and Tyler [Elliott]. The two-point conversion was critical to go up by seven points.”

Iola and Thorndale respond to each other scoring touchdowns one after another to start the game. Thorndale started off strong opening their homecoming game with a 26-yard touchdown. The kick was good giving Thorndale a 7-0 lead.

Iola unleashed their Bulldogs for a 3-yard quarterback keeper by Elliott. The kick failed keeping Thorndale in the lead.

Thorndale answered with a 63-yard run, but the kick failed. Iola responded with another quarterback keeper by Elliott, this one for 10 yards. Chris Arzola kicked the extra point to tie the game 1313 at the end of the first quarter.

Thorndale quickly ended Iola’s lead with a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter, on runs of 5 and 6 yards. Both the conversion and kick failed giving them a 2513 lead.

Iola fought back before the half with a 1-yard touchdown run and conversion. Iola trailed at the half 25-21.

Thorndale was recharged coming out of the locker room scoring on a 31-yard run to extend the lead 31-21.

Elliot kept adding points to the scoreboard with a 1-yard run quarterback keeper to make pull within two, 31-29.

“It felt good to get another comeback win,” said Sharp. “It is a process to change culture and winning games from coming behind late helps in the process.”

Iola (3-1) is back on the road this week as they travel to Rusk to play Maud (1-2). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21.