HOWE — The Bulldogs faced off against District 5-3A (I) opponents the Commerce Tigers in a Mud Bowl game that saw the Tigers get the better of Howe, 40-14, on Friday night.

Misfortune hit the Bulldogs (3-6, 0-5) early with them fumbling the opening kickoff, which Commerce (1-6, 1-3) recovered and turned into a scoring 44-yard drive, giving the Tigers a 7-0 lead in the opening minute of the game on Zay Basham’s 32-yard run.

A series of three-and-outs by the Bulldogs gave Commerce an opportunity to pad its lead in the first quarter, which they capitalized on with a 70-yard touchdown run by Tiger quarterback Brad Caldwell.

The bad luck kept coming for the Bulldogs in the second quarter when an errant snap bounced its way out of the end zone giving Commerce a safety and a 16-0 advantage.

Commerce then marched down the field for a 41-yard scoring drive as Caldwell got into the end zone on a two-yard run to give the Tigers a 23-0 lead going into half-time.

The Bulldogs came out with fire in the second half, capitalizing on a recovered Commerce fumble — marching 58 yards down the field with a flurry of rushes. Arturo Lowder bullied his way four yards for the touchdown giving the Bulldogs their first score of the game before a failed two-point conversion put the score at 23-6.

Caldwell, who ran for 269 yards on 23 carries, provided an immediate response with a 64-yard rushing touchdown in the final minute of the third quarter.

Howe managed to put up another score on a 48-yard pass by Bryce Krantz to Elijah Campbell for a touchdown and Krantz snuck his way into the end zone for the two-point conversion to make it a 30-14 margin. Campbell finished with four catches for 100 yards.

The Bulldogs turned the ball over twice in the final quarter and both times Commerce cashed in with a score — a four-yard rushing touchdown from Basham and a 25-yard field goal by Jordy Ramirez closed out the night.

“Our kids played hard and I’m proud of how they showed up tonight,” Howe head coach Bill Jehling said. “Commerce has a lot of athletes, their quarterback is probably one of the better rushing quarterbacks we’ve seen this year. So all we can do is tip our hat to them and put in the work for the next game.”

The Bulldogs will close out the season against Van Alstyne for the Battle of the Silver Spike this week since Howe has the district bye during the final week of the district schedule.