The Van Meter Bulldogs opened up the 2017 season with an extremely close game against the Earlham Cardinals. The Bulldogs came out on top with a one point lead (21-20).

The game started out well for the Bulldogs, taking the ball down the field immediately while not allowing the Cardinals to gain any yards on their possession.

With 7:45 left on the clock in the first quarter, the Bulldogs held possession of the ball. In just six plays, they managed to gain 42 yards on the Cardinals.

In those six plays, they also scored the first touchdown. Now with 5:45 left on the clock, Carson Rhodes carried the ball another three yards down the field into the end zone. With the extra point, kicked by Bulldog Sam Bardwell, the Bulldogs led 7-0.

The quarter continued, and after only allowing the Cardinals nine yards, the Bulldogs had the ball again. Another six plays and the Bulldogs managed to gain 65 yards on the Cardinals.

At a 1:45 left in the quarter, Blake Fryar passes the ball to Anthony Lowman who ran the ball four yards into the end zone. Again, the PAT was good and the Bulldogs led 14-0.

The Cardinals held possession until the end of the quarter. Just three minutes into the second quarter, the Cardinals scored their first touchdown to tighten the score.

After eight plays and 71 yards, Cardinal Ben Clement passed the ball to Jacob Ridgley in the end zone. Devin Crees kicked the Cardinals PAT putting the score at 14-7.

The Cardinals began to get in a rhythm, only allowing the Bulldogs three yards and 30 seconds of possession.

After, the Cardinals held control of the ball for nearly six minutes, gaining 46 yards on the Bulldogs. In that time, Nate Willem carried the ball into the end zone for the Cardinals’ second touchdown. With Crees extra point, the game was tied up.

The game went back and forth for the rest of the half, ending 14-14 with the Cardinals holding possession.

The Bulldogs only allowed the Cardinals 21 yards in the third quarter while gaining 61 yards of their own, but neither team was able to score before the end of the quarter.

Again, the Cardinal had the ball to begin the final quarter, but the Bulldog only gave them 19 yards.

With 10:53 left in the game, the Bulldogs had possession of the game. They held possession of the ball for seven minutes gaining 73 yards.

At the end of the possession, Fryar took the ball into the end zone, which was followed by a successful PAT. The Bulldogs were up 21-14.

The Cardinals now had the ball and took full advantage of the seven minutes left on the clock.

Jason Hopp was the Cardinal to carry the ball into the end zone. With his four-yard touchdown, it looked as though the game could go into overtime. Crees went for the extra point, but was blocked by Bulldog Connor Guess putting the Cardinals one point behind.

The Bulldogs had an extremely close victory over the Cardinals to begin their season 1-0. The Bulldogs will be playing Woodward-Granger on Friday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.