Bulldogs come up short in season opener, 28-22.

The Dora Bulldogs started the 2022 season at home Thursday night against the #9 team from class 3A, the Winfield Pirates. Optimism has been in the air about the 2022 version of the Dora Bulldogs. However, the Bulldogs would never lead in the game coming up short, 28-22.

Winfield would get on the board first to take the lead. Dora would answer back to tie the game at 7 but that would be as close as they would get the rest of the game. Winfield would go on to score two more touchdowns in the first half to take a 21-7 lead into the locker room.

The constant theme of the first half for the Bulldogs, would be struggles of the offensive line to protect quarterback, Sean Pryor. The Bulldogs defense would also struggle against the running game of the Pirates which set up opportunities for Winfield quarterback, Aidan Quinn in the passing game.

However, the second half would see the Bulldogs figure out some of their first half struggles. The Bulldogs defense would tighten up and limit the Pirates running game which also limited the Pirates passing game. Winfield would score one more touchdown in the second half to help them keep the lead for good but the Bulldogs defense did improve and give the offense multiple opportunities to stay in the game.

Dora quarterback Sean Pryor proved to be a problem for the Pirates defense. Pryor was responsible for all three of the Bulldogs touchdowns and rushed for over 100 yards. Dora’s special teams also provided a spark in the second half with multiple good punts to flip field position and a safety to spark a second half comeback.

Speaking of the comeback, Dora trailed the Pirates 28-14 at the end of the third quarter. The aforementioned safety by the special teams would set up the Bulldogs offense with a chance to win. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the offense would be denied multiple times by the Pirates but the Bulldogs defense would also deny the Pirates from extending the lead.

An aggressive call to go for it on 4th down near midfield by the Pirates proved costly as the Pirates turned the ball over on downs. The Bulldogs offense were able to take advantage as Sean Pryor would lead them down the field and score to bring the game to 28-22 with under 2 minutes remaining. With such little time remaining, the Bulldogs elected to try an onside kick. The special teams would come through again and recover the onside kick giving the Bulldogs one last opportunity to win the game.

The Bulldogs would move the ball into Pirates territory with seconds remaining in the game. Sean Pryor threw a strike to the endzone that was barely just out of the grasp of the Bulldogs wide receiver. Unfortunately this is as close as the Bulldogs would get as Pryor was sacked on the last play of the game as time expired to end the game, Winfield 28 Dora 22.

Despite the loss, the Bulldogs fought through adversity the entire game and almost completed an improbable comeback. There’s plenty to like on both sides of the ball and Dora has plenty of weapons to work with on offense, defense, and special teams. This is the type of loss that could pay dividends the rest of the season, especially as this was a non region game. The Bulldogs travel to Oneonta next week to take on former region 6 foe, the Oneonta Redskins. Oneonta is coming off a state title game appearance and are currently 1-0 after defeating class 2A rival Cleveland, 47-14.

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