Tioga can't complete comeback against Rio Vista

Bryce Brakebill
For the Herald Democrat
Tioga's Logan Westbrook throws a pass during the Bulldogs' non-district match-up with Rio Vista

TIOGA — The Tioga Bulldogs came up just short of their third straight win after Rio Vista came up with a fumble recovery in the final minutes to preserve a 25-22 victory in non-district action.

The Bulldogs (2-2), who had already surpassed last season's win total, pulled within five points in the middle of the fourth quarter.

Tioga was able to come away with a fumble recovery to give it a chance to complete the comeback attempt but Rio Vista (2-1) managed to hang on.

Johnny Dorpinghaus had 30 carries for 160 yards and a touchdown while Chase Evans added 19 carries for 41 yards and two scores and Tyler Henley finished with five receptions for 68 yards.

Taylor Pritchett was involved in all of the scoring for the Eagles. He was 13-of-25 passing for 172 yards and a TD pass to Caleb Wynne as well as 19 carries for 108 yards and two touchdowns and he kicked a 24-yard field goal.

After getting within 25-20 in the middle of the fourth, Tioga recovered an onside kick at the Rio Vista 45-yard-line. The Bulldogs fumbled on their second play of the series but Rio Vista fumbled it back to Tioga just a couple of plays later.

Henley had a 28-yard reception to get Tioga into the red zone and the Bulldogs were on the verge of taking the lead for the first time since the first quarter.

Another fumble recovery by the Eagles with just a minute left proved to be the difference. Tioga still had all its timeouts to try and get the ball back but Rio Vista intentionally took a safety with two seconds left and Tioga could not return the ensuing kickoff for a score.

The Bulldogs came out hot in the first quarter, putting together a 77-yard drive that ended in a seven-yard Dorpinghaus touchdown run a little more than four minutes into the game.

Tioga recovered a fumble on the ensuing Rio Vista drive and cashed that turnover in a touchdown when Evans scored from six yards out just 40 seconds later.

A missed extra point on the first TD and a failed two-point conversion on the latter gave the Bulldogs a 12-0 advantage.

Rio Vista cut into the deficit late in the first quarter when Pritchett connected with Wynne on an 11-yard TD pass and then found Zane Blythe on the conversion to make it 12-8.

The score stayed that way into the second half as neither team could muster much offense in the second quarter.

The Eagles took the lead for good on the first drive of the third quarter. Hunter Andrews hauled in a 55-yard pass to set up Rio Vista deep in Tioga territory and Pritchett had a one-yard touchdown run and the Eagles went in front at 15-12.

Rio Vista blocked a punt to set up another Pritchett run, this time from eight yards out with 7:35 remaining in the third.

The Bulldogs then held the Eagles out of the end zone two minutes later but Rio Vista came away with a 24-yard field goal from Pritchett for a 25-12 lead which lasted into the fourth quarter.

Tioga put together a 79-yard drive that was capped by Evans' one-yard run and Dorpinghaus caught the conversion pass from Logan Westbrook to make it a five-point game with 6:24 left in the contest and set up a chance for the Bulldogs, who close out non-district play by hosting Eustace on Friday, to have a shot to rally.