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Cliff Williams / The Outlook The Horseshoe Bend defensive line looks to stop Lafayette.

A wet night in New Site saw a back-and-forth affair between Horseshoe Bend and LaFayette that ultimately left the Generals without points on Friday and the Bulldogs with just enough to walk away with a 12-0 win and spoil homecoming for Horseshoe Bend.

The Bulldogs (2-4, 2-3) were coming off their first win of the season going into this game and have given themselves life in the playoff standings with back-to-back wins. Horseshoe Bend (1-6, 0-5) couldn’t stop the bleeding, dropping six straight games after winning the season opener against rival Wadley.

“They (LaFayette) overpowered us on both sides of the ball up front,” coach Jeremy Phillips said. “We didn’t play well on the offensive and defensive line. We also had some untimely penalties and turnovers that really hurt us tonight.”

The Generals moved the ball into the red zone three times throughout the night but came away with zero points, which were at a premium Friday. A mixture of rain and two run-dominant offense, possessions were limited as each team saw the ball less than 10 times on offense.

“We have to take advantage of those opportunities, especially in a game like this,” Phillips said. “Our defense did some good things and forced some turnovers that gave us some chances, especially in the second half but we couldn’t make anything happen with the extra possessions and it was the difference in the ballgame.”

The Generals’ most successful drive came at the end of the game. With 4:48 remaining, the Generals got the ball at midfield and began to use a quick passing game that helped get them down to the goal line. Unfortunately for the Generals, they couldn’t muster any points and turned the ball over on downs with 1:14 seconds left in the game. Phillips used his time outs but were not able to see the ball back.

“The quick passing game helps on a night like tonight,” Phillips said. “They were giving us a little cushion there at the end but it’s unfortunate we couldn’t hook up on the long one.”

Phillips said the reason the Generals couldn’t find the end zone Friday was the blocking up front for Horseshoe Bend.

“The offensive line didn’t play as well this week as they did last week,” Phillips said. “Give the other guys credit, they are well coached and big, but we had a missed assignment or two here and there and in our offense you can’t do that. It’s hard to run the football when a guy is standing in the hole our backs are supposed to be running in, so that’s what we are going to work on and putting emphasis on at practice again this week.”

According to Phillips, the Generals are just a few plays away in each game from going home with a win versus the loss, but it’s self-inflicted wounds that are costing the Generals and Phillips said it needs to get cleaned up if they are going to turn it around this late in the season.

“Yes, the teams we are playing are good,” Phillips said. “But we have too many self-inflicting things happening to us in games that can be preventable and it’s causing us to struggle to win ballgames.”  

Phillips said the team draws inspiration from the supportive fan base that stuck around even as it rained cats and dogs in the first half.

“I can’t brag on this New Site community enough,” Phillips said. “Nights like tonight when nobody wants to be sitting in the pouring rain. The support here is great and we are working hard to bring home a win and make them proud.”

Ryne Gallacher is a sports writer for The Outlook.