Doggers end season with close loss

DALTON, Neb – The Lingle-Fort Laramie Doggers closed out their season surrendering a loss to South Platte, Neb. on Friday in Dalton, Neb., 44-36, despite three touchdowns for Alex Pugsley.

Alex Pugsley got the scoring started for the Doggers, recording a 5-yard run in the first quarter for L-FL’s first points of the game. Brandon Hill converted the kick to give the Doggers another two points. Also in the first half, Cooper Hill came down with an interception, which he took back to the house for another Dogger score. By halftime, L-FL faced a 20-16 deficit.

“We didn’t really have a good start, but our kids turned things around and made it a back-and-forth game at the end,” coach Matt Cornelius said.

In the third frame, Cordell Forkner linked up with Brandon Hill for a 5-yard touchdown pass. L-FL trimmed the South Platte lead to 26-24 heading into the fourth quarter.

The final two touchdowns for L-FL came in the fourth quarter and both were credited to Pugsley. The first of his scores was a 1-yard run and the second was a 30-yard reception from Forkner. Despite the two scores in the final quarter, the Doggers could not catch up to South Platte, falling 44-36.

“Considering the season we have had, the game was totally for pride,” Cornelius said. “They could have easily rolled over, but they gave it their all and I was proud to see that.”

Forkner was busy in the backfield, going 16-for-34 in the game for 252 yards and two scores. Brandon Hill hauled in five receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown. Cooper Hill had four receptions for a team-high 100 receiving yards. Pugsley and Gaven Niles combined for 83 yards on seven receptions.

Pugsley was the top runner for L-FL, toting the rock 18 times for 69 yards and two scores. Brandon Hill also had a run for five yards and Cooper Hill added another seven yards on the ground.

Niles was an issue in the backfield for Blue Knights, accounting for six tackles for loss, along with seven unassisted tackles and six assisted tackles. Forkner also caused problems in the backfield with four tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He rounded out his stat sheet with two solo and five assisted tackles.

Brandon Hill, who left in the third quarter with an injury, racked up six solo tackles, along with four assisted tackles, while Pugsley chipped in two solo and four assisted tackles. Cooper Hill recorded the only turnover with his pick-six. He also had a tackle for loss, a solo tackle and two assisted tackles. Gage Correa finished the night with three tackles for loss and a solo tackle.

“We had a lot of young kids play not by design, but because of injuries,” Cornelius said. “The younger kids did a good job stepping in and playing positions they may not have played before and they responded well. That makes me excited for next year.”

Not counting the forfeit win, the Doggers finished with a 1-7 record. Their forfeit win over Rock River did give them a 2-5 record in the conference. L-FL finished in the sixth slot in the 1A six-man east, missing the playoffs.

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