HOWE — The Howe Bulldogs overcame seven turnovers by forcing five of their own, including three interceptions from Layton Elvington, to pull away from the S&S Rams in the second half for a 39-14 victory in non-district action.
It started off rough for the Bulldogs (1-1) with a fumble on the opening kickoff which S&S (0-2) recovered to set up shop for its opening drive on the Howe 24-yard line. After a three-yard run by Rams quarterback Jake Reynolds, all it took was a 21-yard pass to Devin Jackson to put the Rams up 7-0 in two plays and less than a minute into the first quarter.
The Bulldogs, who snapped an eight-game losing streak dating to last season, bit back immediately with a one 50-yard pass by freshman quarterback Austin Haley to Jalen Thornton for a touchdown to tie game up at seven.
Both offenses stalled until near the end of the first quarter when Howe broke through with another touchdown reception by Thornton from 21 yards out. A blocked extra-point kick made it a 13-7 lead for the Bulldogs. This score remained unchanged after lockdown defensive performances by both teams until the third quarter.
Thorton finished the game with four catches for 93 yards and also ran 15 times for 72 yards while Haley completed 10-of-22 passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions.
After Elvington snagged his third interception, the Bulldogs were set up nicely for a scoring drive in the third quarter. A 48-yard pass from Haley to Kolby Windon set up the touchdown opportunity for Howe, which was capitalized on with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Caiden Harmon. Harmon, who ran eight times for 68 yards, ran in the two-point conversion put the Bulldogs on top 21-7 at the 7:02 mark of the third.
Haley’s outing was cut short after a helmet-to-helmet hit, taking him out of the remainder of the game. Elvington came in for Haley and led the Bulldogs to a touchdown with a 32-yard pass to Jordan Jones and a 27-7 advantage less than a minute into the fourth.
The Howe defense continued to shine with another interception on the first pass by S&S on the very next drive and Hunter Brussow brought it back 42 yards for the score to make it 33-7.
S&S,which has lost 13 consecutive games, was able to put some more points on the board after chipping away with a 10-play drive, ending with a four-yard touchdown run by Joey Baggs to put the score at 33-14 with 6:15 remaining.
Howe managed to reach the end zone one more time with a 29-yard touchdown run by Harmon minutes later to close out the scoring.
“Definitely have some things to work on moving forward,” Howe coach Bill Jehling said. “But overall I’m proud of the kids, they came out here and played very well and overcame some adversity tonight.”
Colby McSpedden led the Rams with 13 carries for 66 yards and Jackson added 11 carries for 43 yards.
The Bulldogs will return to the field at Bells on Friday while S&S hosts Collinsville.