SMYRNA—The Smyrna Bulldogs did not kick off the 2019 season the way they had hoped, getting shutout 42-0 to the visiting East Nashville Eagles.
The Eagles did it behind a very strong running game with running back Rontavious Gregory. The junior finished the game with over 90 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
“The focus was to come out and dominate.” Gregory said. “We wanted to hit them in the mouth first before they tried to hit us.”
Hit them in the mouth is exactly what the Eagles did, jumping out to a 21-0 lead after scoring on all three first quarter drives.
Smyrna struggled to get anything going, offensively. The Bulldogs went three-and-out on their first four drives and only managed two first downs in the first half.
“I think we played a team (East Nashville) that was a lot better than us,” Smyrna coach Matt Williams said. “We’ve got to get better with the little things, we’ve got a lot of inexperienced kids out there and that showed tonight.”
East Nashville contained Smyrna’s star defensive end and Texas A&M commit Dallas Walker. Walker had little-to-no impact on defense and only made one big play on offense, which was the Bulldogs’ first, first down of the game.
“People see that we have a kid that’s committed to (Texas) A&M, but around that we’ve got a lot inexperienced guys who had never played on a Friday night,” Williams said. “It’s going to be interesting on how much better we get as the season goes along.”
Eagles head coach Brian Waite stated he was very proud of his team’s dominating performance to the start of the season.
“We have a saying at our program that says: ‘Respect all, fear none,’” Waite said. “I just wanted the team to attack tonight, if we can stay on attack mode for four quarters we will have a significant chance to win the ball game.”
The Eagles outgained the Bulldogs by over 200 yards—including 142 rushing yards in the first half. The defense also did its job against the run game, holding Smyrna to just 42 total yards in the first half as well.
“The biggest key for us (East Nashville) tonight was to stop the run.” Waite said.
“The defense are some dogs,” Gregory added. “That’s how they do in practice, I wasn’t surprised.”