Bulldogs take the field

Carrying the Texas flag, the Royse City Bulldogs run out onto the field at Royse City ISD Stadium to start the 2020 football season.

After winning their football season opener 55-38 last week over Frisco Centennial, the Royse City Bulldogs will remain at home as they face the Whitehouse Wildcats on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Royse City ISD Stadium.

The visiting Wildcats defeated the Forney Jackrabbits 31-13 last week in Forney. Whitehouse took control of that game by dominating the possession time as well as the scoreboard.

Sophomore quarterback Joey Conflitti leads the Whitehouse offense. Conflitti will be wearing No. 4 and he completed 29 of 37 passes for 195 yards, four touchdowns and one interception against Forney. Senior running back Matthew Gooden wears No. 22 and he led the Wildcat rushing attack with 47 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

Decarlton Wilson, No. 8, is Conflitti’s main target with 14 catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns.

Also keep an eye on senior receiver Trevor Thiering, who has seven catches for 50 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson also returns punts and Thiering is one of the kickoff return specialists.

Defensively, watch out for explosive linebacker Braiden Miller. Miller recorded 15 tackles against Forney and three of those were for losses.

Also, 240-pound senior Marshall Johnson had five solo tackles, four of which were tackles for a loss of yardage as the dominating Wildcat defense recovered four fumbles.

So, in a capsule and if the game against Forney is any indication of a Whitehouse game plan for this week against the Bulldogs, expect the Wildcats to come out throwing the ball. With a very young quarterback at the helm, but exceptional receivers. Whitehouse will try to take advantage early of any weak links they think the Bulldogs may have on defense.

Also, the Wildcats have a very aggressive defense that expects to be in the Bulldog backfield as much as possible. Consistency was the Wildcat theme against the Jackrabbits. Scoring in every quarter last Friday, Whitehouse is one of the better East Texas powerhouse football teams.

The Wildcats return six offensive and five defensive starters from last year’s 8-4 bi-district champion team.  Their top returning offensive prospect is sophomore Mikevic Hall at 5-6, 165, the tailback has 4.4 speed and is expected to be a dynamic player for the Wildcats this season.

Royse City ISD Stadium will be observing UIL guidelines regarding COVID-19 safety procedures throughout the game. Facial covering and social distancing will be monitored along with precautionary measures to avoid spreading the disease. Online ticket sales are available on the school’s website. Please pay close attention to the seating charts. All ticket sales are final.

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Sir Hill scored the Bulldogs’ first score of the delayed pandemic 2020 season on a 2-yard touchdown run that capped off a 75-yard, eight-play drive. It was as if the Bulldogs were still playing at the high level they attained in the reaching the area round of the 2019 playoffs. Mitchell Stokes, the Bulldogs’ sophomore kicker, added the extra point.

After a couple of early season glitches, the Bulldogs briefly lost the lead. Centennial booted a 44-yard field goal and then scored a touchdown by recovering a high snap in the Bulldog end zone.

The Bulldogs regained the lead to head into halftime leading 28-10. They kept that consistency, adding 27 points in the second half, however, the Titans added 28 to keep pressure.  

The Bulldogs put together a very well-balanced offensive attack that gained 659 total yards. Six Bulldogs scored, led by Hill with two touchdowns rushing and one receiving. Others scoring were sophomore tailback Sam Mitchum on an 80-yard scamper, junior Champ Petty-Dozier on a 44-yard run, senior Ketron Jackson on a 22-yard touchdown reception, senior Michael Alphin on a 27-yard reception and sophomore Jonah Roberson on a 25-yard catch. All of those touchdown passes were attributed to the arm of junior quarterback Joe Veracruz who completed 19 of 22 passes for 292 yards.

Defensively, the Bulldogs were challenged by a hard-running Titan offense that included a 154-yard all-purpose performance by Jackson Marshall. Titan Quarterback Grayson Dayries completed 20 of 35 passes for 215 yards and four touchdowns.

Four Bulldogs recorded over 100 all-purpose yards. Alphin led all receivers with five receptions for 122 yards. Mitchum led all Bulldogs rushing 112 yards on six carries. Petty-Dozier ran for 107 yards on 13 carries. Hill gained 78 yards rushing on seven carries and caught five passes for 45 yards.

Senior linebacker Blake Buhman led the defense with 11 tackles, with two for losses. Keep an eye on No. 45 this season, but also enjoy the defensive play of sophomore Dominique Gatson and junior Wyatt Johnson. Xavion Allen defended four passes. Braden Marking and sophomore Tatum Woods also made some plays on defense.

This week’s schedule and predictions

Whitehouse at Royse City — Royse City by 14

Ennis at Keller Fossil Ridge — Ennis by 15

Rockwall Heath at Southlake Carroll — Southlake Carroll by 10

Denton Ryan at Denton Guyer — Denton Guyer by 3

Rockwall at Jesuit — Rockwall by 6

Corsicana at Frisco Lebanon Trail — Corsicana by 3

Frisco Liberty at Greenville — Greenville by 6

Melissa at Argyle — Argyle by 7

Ranchview at Kaufman — Kaufman by 2

Frisco Lone Star at Aledo — Aledo by 6

Denison at Texas High — Texas High by 10

Midlothian at Forney — Midlothian by 13

Longview Pine Tree at Crandall — Crandall by 3

Lovejoy at Sulphur Springs — Lovejoy by 8

Denton Braswell at Keller — Braswell by 7

Offensive Player of the Week

Joe Veracruz and Sir Hill. Both players played exceptionally for the first game of the year and both are deserving for their big night against Frisco Centennial. Expect both to also be in the running for more accolades as this season continues.  

Defensive Player of the Week

Senior Blake Buhman is expected to take on a leadership role this season. The 200-pound middle linebacker brings an incredible amount of energy to the Royse City defense. With several positions depleted by graduation, the Royse City defense may take a few early games to get back up to its potential. The potential is there and every week, expect Buhman to be one of the leaders to bring the big hit to escort the Bulldogs back to the playoffs.

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