HOWE — While dealing with a field soaked from a day’s worth of rain, the Pottsboro Cardinals took an early advantage on the scoreboard and stymied the Howe Bulldogs in a 27-0 victory in District 5-3A (I) action on Friday night.

Pottsboro (4-3, 2-1), which bounced back from its loss to first-place Van Alstyne, set the tone of the game early, forcing the Bulldogs (3-4, 0-3), who have lost four straight, to go three-and-out on their first drive of the game, with defensive line suffocated Howe’s running game.

The Cardinals managed to march down the field on their opening drive, going 67 yards and ending with a 10-yard rushing touchdown by Dylan Kulbeath for a 7-0 lead with 7:36 remaining in the first quarter.

It was more of the same for the rest of the frame. Howe getting off four plays at most while the Cardinals held tight and preventing any long plays from the Bulldogs. The Cardinals put together one more scoring drive before the end of the first, scoring on a 35-yard run by Cy Shope to make it a 14-0 advantage.

The rest of the half was a defensive stalemate with neither defense giving up any long plays. Howe and Pottsboro combined for a total of three fumbles and three interceptions during the second quarter; however neither team could capitalize on those potential momentum swings and placing more of a premium on both teams’ defenses and punters.

The third quarter saw much of the same with both teams narrowly missing a potential game-changing play — the Bulldogs put together a stellar drive in the third but a pair of penalties thwarted any chance to keep the possession moving and reach the end zone.

Pottsboro put the final nails in the coffin in the fourth quarter — scoring early in the quarter on a 14-yard touchdown run by Shope and then scoring again with four minutes left on another 14-yard run by Zach Talley.

“We have to get our offense back and rolling,” Howe head coach Bill Jehling said. “We’ve lost a lot of key players due to injury, so that hurt us, especially when going up against a team like Pottsboro, but I’m proud of our guys, they played hard every down of the game on both sides of the ball. But, we are going to need to get back to the drawing board. Figure out where we are at with the injuries and what we need to work on going forward.”

Howe will hope to get back on track against Lone Oak while Pottsboro hosts Bonham, the only other undefeated team besides Van Alstyne in the standings but the Warriors sit a half-game back of the Panthers.