Coming off two tough losses, the Bulldogs came out and made a statement, shutting out Locust Fork 67-0 on homecoming at Lott-Mosby Memorial Stadium.
Bullock, in his second year as Anniston’s head coach, was happy to come away with a victory, but it was a little bittersweet.
“I’m glad that we won the game,” Bullock said. “But this is kind of a tough game with mixed emotions because you really don’t want one team to feel like you embarrassed them like that. It’s just tough, man. I’m glad we won, but it’s kind of hard to say in words.
“Locust Fork has always been a graceful team. They have been very cordial and the coaches have been extremely nice. There are just a lot of mixed emotions about it.”
Anniston’s star running back Troymaine Pope didn’t get many touches against the Hornets, but he certainly made the most of them.
On the Bulldogs’ first possession, Pope took the handoff from quarterback Spencer Howard and sprinted 50 yards to the 4-yard line. After a five-yard penalty, Vashard Wilson capped the drive with a 9-yard touchdown run, putting Anniston up 7-0.
Pope would do the rest of the damage for the Bulldogs in the first half, scoring on runs of 15 and 58 yards, catching a 21-yard touchdown pass from Howard and taking a 60-yard punt return to the house, giving Anniston a 34-0 lead at halftime.
Pope finished with 126 yards rushing on only five carries. He spent the entire second half on the sideline without a helmet or shoulder pads.
“Our original game plan was to get other guys involved,” Bullock said. “I told (Pope), I said, ‘If we do what we are supposed to do, you will be limited tonight, but you have got to make the best out of what you get because I don’t want to keep you in for two reasons. I don’t want to seem like I’m trying to run the score up, and second, I don’t want you to get hurt.’”
Bullock played his backups the majority of the second half, but the Bulldogs kept putting up points in bunches.
Wilson scored his second touchdown of the game with a 42-yard run just 38 seconds into the third quarter, putting Anniston up 40-0.
Howard made it 47-0 with a 3-yard quarterback keeper that was set up by a Jaylynn Spinks interception.
On the Hornets’ next possession, Denzel Roberts came up with a big sack, setting up a blocked punt that Michael Montgomery fell on in the end zone to make it 54-0.
The Bulldogs would get the ball back immediately after Roberts recovered an unintentional onside kick. Four plays later, Brandon Gaston made an outstanding run, bouncing off tackles before finding an opening on the sideline for a 41-yard touchdown to put the Bulldogs up by 60.
Artemas Terrell set the final with a 47-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth.
“We talk about playing with passion and playing with energy,” Bullock said. “Once you put them in, it’s kind of hard to tell them to scale it back. Those guys were mostly ninth and tenth graders.”