HOWE — Caddo Mills took on Howe in what was a heart-wrenching loss for many of the Bulldogs and their supporters as the team found themselves missing what would have been their first victory of the season just shy of three points. Emotions were running high as the players and supporters on both sides of the field watched with excitement as the final minutes ticked from the scoreboard at Bulldog Stadium on Friday, Sept. 29 to give Caddo Mills (3-5) a 17-14 victory over Howe (0-5).

Howe started strong and put Caddo Mills on the defensive with 14 points scored by running back Ty Harvey, kicker Calley Vick and first-time quarterback Chase Harvey with two touchdowns and two successful PAT attempts.

“[The Caddo Mills] defense played smart and they set the house,” Howe quarterback Chase Harvey said about the conclusion of his first game leading offense for the Bulldogs. “When they did that, the timing was off and they set eight with five trying to block.”

The field goal scored by the Caddo Mills Foxes in the third quarter broke the 14-14 tie and set the tone for the rest of the game. Chase Harvey took to the new quarterback position well and helped the Bulldogs score two touchdowns in an excellent first half for the underdog team. Chase Harvey put six points on the board with a quarterback sneak for a touchdown. The Howe defense proved difficult for the visiting team to get a running or passing play through, forcing the Caddo Mills offense to resort to a long distance field goal to break the tie.

“They started putting six defensive backs there to cover our passes and they had a big nose guard,” Bulldog running back Ty Harvey said of the Foxes’ defense. “It just stopped us.”

Ty Harvey spoke highly of his teammates’ performances compared to the previous games of the season. Howe suffered a shutout loss in the previous week and one can see the loss proved to motivated the Bulldogs. Overall the Bulldogs offense appeared to be communicating better than the previous matchups thus far into the season.

“We played a way better game though than we have been,” Ty Harvey said. The Bulldogs offense spread out on the field, letting the Caddo Mills defense know that the Bulldogs had a strong pass with their new starting quarterback.

“We got a big quarterback that stepped up this week, my cousin, [Chase Harvey] led us to almost a victory,” Ty Harvey said. He added that one of the biggest challenges he faced as a running back was the speed of the Foxes’ defensive backs, who proved to be a significant challenge for the Bulldogs offense. Ty Harvey said he almost could not believe the improvement the team had shown in the first half was still not enough to overcome Caddo Mills, noting, “I’m at a loss for words.”

The Caddo Mills defense continued to build up steam in the second half as the penalties on both sides increased in frequency. By the fourth quarter Howe struggled to find openings and clear passing routes in the Foxes’ intimidating defense. Caddo Mills defensive backs moved fast to making passing plays difficult, leavign the Bulldog offense with little reaction time. Chase Harvey said the offensive plays were unable to overcome the pressure from the Foxes’ defense.

Hopes of gaining the lead once more were high for the Bulldogs after Dylan Moreau caught a complete pass with less than two minutes to go in the final quarter. Howe moved even closer to the one touchdown the Bulldogs needed to secure victory when running back Ty Harvey caught the pass on the following play — but the Howe loss would be set in stone when a penalty caused yards gained from the catch to be lost. Caddo Mills would take possession of the game and the victory with an interception caught by the Foxes defense with 1:20 left in the football game.

“They are one of the better teams we’ve faced,” Chase Harvey said. He added that a highlight of the competition — as a first-time Howe quarterback — was contributing to the first time the Bulldogs offense scored 14 points in the first half of a game during the 2017 season.

Howe called for a timeout with 2:11 left in the game after the Bulldogs offense struggled against the Foxes’ stout defensive line with play attempts resulting in incomplete passes. Penalty flags flew throughout the competition against both sides, especially as the intensity peaked on the field with players and supporters struggling to maintain good sportsmanship and composure.

Some find Friday the thirteenth to be lucky, and after a short break from games, the Bulldogs may find the luck needed for their first victory of the season as they next hit the road to take on Pottsboro on Friday, Oct. 13, while Caddo Mills will host Celina on the same night.