Bulldogs defeat Normangee on the road

Thorndale’s Hunter Towery runs to the outside to pick up yardage for the Dogs.


Champion Sports 


The Thorndale Bulldogs proved they have got some fight left in them, as they came from behind to defeat Normangee 50-36 on the road Friday night and claim the Bulldogs’ first district win in two seasons.

The victory moves Thorndale to 2-4 on the season and 1-0 in District 13-2A Division I play, as Friday’s matchup was the league opener for both squads.

The Bulldogs garnered 462 yards of total offense on the night, all on the ground.  And the 50 point performance is the best for the squad in two seasons.

Luke Leschber’s 234 yard rushing performance on 42 carries and five touchdowns earned him a Texas Football Magazine Player of the Week nomination. (Votes can be made at www.texasfootball.com until noon on Friday.)

On Friday night, Normangee jumped out to an early lead as Ty Jordan ran back a Thorndale fumble 45 yards on the first play of scrimmage for a touchdown.  A Cameron Ranton to Dylan Hoffman conversion pass completion put the Panthers up 8-0 just 18 seconds into the ball game.

Normangee added another score with 6:27 left in the opening frame when Jo’Marcus Longenbaugh ran it in from 15 yards out.  The conversion run failed, leaving the Panthers up 14-0.

Then it was Thorndale’s turn.  Luke Leschber struck from seven yards out for his first of five touchdowns on the night.  A Mason Fisher point-after kick cut Normangee’s lead to 14-7 with 2:47 left in the first.

Leschber hit pay dirt again from 57 yards out with 2:12 left in the first on a scoring drive the Bulldogs began on a Panther turnover.  A Fisher PAT tied the ball game up at 14-14.

The Bulldogs took the lead with 51 seconds left in the opening frame on a nine yard scamper from Hunter Towery.  Another Fisher PAT put Thorndale up 21-14.  But Normangee had an answer.

Jordan broke loose through the Bulldog defense for a 48 yard score and then ran in the conversion play himself to put the Panthers back on top 22-21 with 40 seconds left in the first.

However, Thorndale managed to get the lead back once again in the second quarter.  Scott Guzman sprinted in for a 15-yard touchdown with 7:27 left in the half.  Another Fisher kick put the Bulldogs up 28-22.

The third quarter saw the two teams continue to battle.  Normangee tied the ball game up with 8:49 left in the third on a 24 yard run by Jordan.  The conversion run failed and the game was knotted at 28-28.

The Bulldogs were having none of that.  They ate up rushing yards and time, with Leschber scoring from three yards out with 3:02 left in the third frame.  The PAT kick was no good, but Thorndale still led 34-28.

Normangee used quick offense and Jordan’s speed on the ground to take the lead right back, as he broke loose for a 43-yard touchdown with just eight clicks off the clock later.  The conversion pass from Jake Shaw to Jordan put the Panthers up 36-34.

Thorndale’s defense shut Normangee’s run game in the fourth quarter, keeping them out of the end zone.

Leschber added two more scores in that quarter to put Thorndale back in the lead and keeping them there.  He punched it in from three yards out with 10:22 left in the fourth to put the Bulldogs ahead and then again from one yard with 1:52 left in the contest to seal the deal.  Jagger Rubio ran in both of the two-point conversions in the fourth quarter.

In addition to Leschber’s standout performance, Towery had another century mark performance himself with 17 carries for 111 yards.  Guzman added eight totes for 70 yards and Rubio touched the ball five times for 38 yards.  Coleby Driver had three carries for six yards and Trey Ortiz carried once for a three yard gain.

Thorndale attempted just one pass on the night, with it falling for an incompletion.

Leschber’s performance was only matched by Normangee’s Jordan who tallied 256 rushing yards on the night on 18 carries and four touchdowns.

Ranton was three of seven passing for 21 yards and an interceptions, while Jordan also threw two passes, completing one for a 15-yard gain.

Jordan was also the Panthers’ top receiver on the night with two receptions for 16 yards.

The Bulldogs will host Moody on Friday for this year homecoming game.  The Bearcats are sitting at 3-3 on the season and defeated Rosebud-Lott 49-22 in their district opener last week.  Moody was a playoff team last season and were picked by Texas Football Magazine to finish third in the final league standings.