• Roger Sims, Journal Staff

Anderson County dashes Buffalos' playoff hopes

Updated: Oct 27

Buffalo quarterback Gabe Murillo hurls himself through the Bulldog defense to make the two-point conversion in the fourth quarter. (Photos by Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

The Anderson County Bulldogs simply wouldn’t release their bite on Friday, clamping down on the Prairie View offense and handing the Buffalos a 35-20 loss.

The loss knocked the Buffalos out of a playoff berth. They will play their final game of the season at home at 7 p.m. Friday against the Baxter Springs Lions. The teams have identical 3-5 records.

The Bulldogs scored within the first minute of the game on a three-play drive from their own 43 yard line. A boot through the uprights and they were up 7-0.

The Buffalos turned the ball over on downs in their first possession, and Anderson County took nine plays to carry the ball into the end zone. The extra point kick was off, but Prairie View was down 13-0 with about three minutes remaining in the quarter.

The Buffalo offense began to show life on its next possession, mounting a 67-yard drive with freshman running back Parker Schwarz breaking for 53 yards and a touchdown. The conversion pass was incomplete, but Prairie View was on the scoreboard, 13-6.

Anderson County scored on its next possession, but the Bulldogs took 13 plays to move the ball 75 yards for the score. The point-after attempt was good, and the ‘Dogs were up, 20-6.

Dayton Kline falls on an Anderson County fumble as John Goodwin blocks for him.

In one of most crucial drives of the game, Prairie View’s Schwarz and sophomore back Stevie McGuire moved the ball 48 yards in eight plays to the Bulldogs 3. But a fumble on the next play was recovered by the Bulldogs on their own 1.

The Prairie View defense kicked in, keeping the Bulldogs from getting within range of the end zone by the end of the first half.

The Buffalos moved quickly to score in the third quarter. With help from a face mask penalty against the Bulldogs, Schwarz and McGuire moved the ball to the Anderson County 8, and junior quarterback Gabe Murillo scampered into the end zone on a keeper. The conversion attempt failed and the Buffalo had 12 points on the board.

The Bulldogs scored another touchdown with a 2-point conversion in the third quarter.

On Prairie View’s next possession, a 34-yard pass from Murillo up the middle to sophomore tight end Colten McCrea put the Buffalos on the Bulldog 25. It was the same play used a week earlier against Iola that put Prairie View inside the 3 yard line. This time, however, the Anderson County secondary was too quick, and the Buffalos gave up the ball on downs.

Peyton Doty (14) and Garret Cullor clear the way for Parker Schwarz during one of his many carries against the Bulldogs.

A series of penalties pushed the Bulldogs back toward the goal line and a fumble recovered by Prairie View gave them first and goal on the Bulldog 2.

On the next play, Murillo punched through for a touchdown and kept the ball again for the 2-point conversion. Anderson County 28, Prairie View 20.

The Bulldogs would put another seven points on the scoreboard to end the game, Anderson County 35-20.

Prairie View head coach Kyle Littrell, who before the game voiced concerns about the Bulldogs’ size, said Anderson County’s line hammered his team on both offense and defense.

“Their offensive and defensive line just manhandled us tonight,” Littrell said after the game.

He said his team wasn’t very physical when they needed to be and that they didn’t seem mentally prepared for the game.

“This is their (the Bulldogs’) Super Bowl,” he said. “They’ve got nothing to lose and they let it all hang out, and we didn’t respond.”

Schwarz, who has been effective at scrambling through opponent’s lines and secondary, was stymied by the Bulldog defense. Both teams worked to shut down the lanes up the middle and often the ball carrier on each team ended up in the middle of what looked like a rugby scrum.

Prairie View generated 258 yards of offense compared to 380 yards for Anderson County. The Buffalos had 42 yards in the air and 216 yards on the ground. The Bulldogs had 150 passing yards and 230 yards rushing.

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