GERALDINE — Ninth-ranked Geraldine dominated unbeaten New Hope on Friday night, smashing the Indians 49-7 in a Class 3A, Region 7 football matchup at Coolidge Isbell Field.
Defending region champion Geraldine improved to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the Region 7 standings entering next week’s homecoming game against nonregion opponent Sardis.
New Hope, which started 3-0 for the first time in 30 years, fell to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in Region 7.
“You don’t get to take nothing for granted,” Geraldine head coach Brad Waldrop said. “New Hope has a new coach [Trey Sullivan], and he’s doing a great job. You watch the guys play and you know they’re trying to do a lot of things right.
“I consider New Hope a quality program. Anybody else can say what they want to say, but New Hope’s a quality program. They’ve got a quality coaching staff. They do a lot of good things.
“I think our guys did a pretty good job of execution tonight. We came out there in the second half … honestly a little bit flat. The first drive of the second half we didn’t do anything, but we regrouped and finished it somewhat in an acceptable manner.”
The Bulldogs stormed to a 35-0 advantage at intermission.
Anthony Baldwin’s 3-yard touchdown run put Geraldine in front to stay with 6:17 left in the first quarter. Jose Garcia converted the first of his seven extra points to make it 7-0.
Austin King extended Geraldine’s lead to 14-0 with a 6-yard scoring run at the 1:25 mark of the opening period.
King collected his second TD of the night on a 5-yard run with 6:42 remaining in the second period. Garcia kicked it to 21-0.
Special teams delivered the Bulldogs’ next score, as Kyle Thackerson returned a punt 62 yards to the end zone with 5:15 to go in the second.
New Hope fumbled the kickoff return, and Geraldine’s Troy Willoughby recovered with 5:05 left.
Thackerson made the Indians pay for their turnover by sweeping 19 yards around right end for a touchdown with 3:45 remaining. Garcia’s kick expanded it to 35-0.
Thackerson snuffed out a New Hope scoring threat by making a leaping interception at the GHS 6-yard line just 12.5 seconds before intermission.
DJ Graham’s 31-yard completion to Jackson Bearden set up Geraldine’s next TD, which came on Baldwin’s 17-yard run with 4:12 left in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs’ defense stopped New Hope on a fourth-and-three conversion attempt, as Bo Harper batted down Dylan Selvage’s pass.
The defensive stand led to Geraldine’s final touchdown, a 51-yard dash to the end zone by Caleb Hall with 44.4 seconds to play in the third period. Garcia’s point-after gave the Dogs a 49-0 cushion.
New Hope avoided the shutout on Selvage’s 9-yard TD run with 6:18 remaining in the fourth quarter. Travis Bennett added the point-after.