TOM BEAN — The Tioga defense made a first-quarter touchdown stand up, including stopping a two-point conversion in the middle of the fourth quarter as the Bulldogs held on for a 7-6 victory over the Tom Bean Tomcats in the season-opener.
Ryan Montgomery provided all of the offense with his TD run. Marshall Lease had six catches for 46 yards and Kaleb Scott finished with 14 carries for 16 yards.
Kaleb Graham led Tom Bean with 28 carries for 149 yards.
Tioga deferred to the second half and then opened the game by recovering an onside kick. The Bulldogs, who got revenge for a 35-6 loss last season and matched their win total from 2018, were unable to capitalize on the special teams turnover as Bryce Clark came up with an interception, one of four by the Tomcats on the night.
The momentum swings continued to be wild in the early going. A fumble two plays later gave the ball back to Tioga, only for Corbin Raney to pick off a Reagan Mejia pass.
Tom Bean was able to advance to the Bulldog 38 before the drive stalled there.
With 3:11 left in the first quarter Tioga broke the stalemate to go up 7-0. Montgomery found the end zone on his only carry of the night — from 15 yards out — and Lease kicked the extra point for what turned out to be the only points the Bulldogs would need.
Tioga carried that lead into half-time and eventually into the fourth quarter.
Before that point, Tioga recovered an onside kick but a penalty-riddled drive forced the Bulldogs to put the ball in the air. Clark came up with his second interception deep in Tom Bean territory to thwart Tioga’s attempt to pad its advantage.
The Tomcats were backed up to their five-yard line and four snaps later Tioga was quickly in scoring position once again.
Tom Bean’s defense rose to the occasion to keep the Bulldogs out of the end zone when Patrick Fitzgerald earned the interception.
With one of its last chances to get something going, the Tomcats took over at their 46-yard line and Lance Pauler was able to cap the drive with a 16-yard touchdown run with 6:31 left in the contest. Tom Bean decided to go for the lead, and the potential winning points, but Tioga stopped the conversion attempt with Scott making the tackle and held on for the win.
The Bulldogs will face Blue Ridge on Friday while Tom Bean travels to Prairiland.