By Doug Gorman
It took three games, but the Mt. Zion Bulldogs handed first-year head coach Bob Ryan his first career victory Saturday night as the squad rolled to a 37-7 victory against rival Forest Park.
The Bulldogs couldn't have picked a better game to get a winning streak started since the contest was a showdown between two Region 5-AAAA West opponents. With the win, Mt. Zion improved to 1-2 overall, but 1-0 in the Region 5-AAAA West standings. Forest Park dropped to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in league play.
Mt. Zion spotted Forest Park a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter, but then scored five unanswered touchdowns to pull away from the Panthers.
Martin Ward scored on touchdown runs of 67 and 30 yards to spark a productive day by the Bulldogs' offense.
About the only mistake Mt. Zion made early in the contest was on the first series of the game as Forest Park marched 76 yards in less than three minutes to take the lead. Willie Barber's 7-yard touchdown pass to Larry McCarden gave the Panthers their only score of the contest.
Mt. Zion scored two touchdowns in a span of about five minutes in the second quarter to take the lead for good.
Julius Davis scored on a 1-yard run for the Bulldogs' first of five touchdowns. Although the 2-point conversion failed, and Forest Park clung to a 7-6 lead, the Panthers' momentum didn't last long.
With just 3:23 left before the end of the first half, Ward broke free on his 67-yard sprint to the end zone as the Bulldogs led 13-7 at the break.
Any chance Forest Park had at getting back in the game ended in the third quarter as the Bulldogs scored three touchdowns in less than five minutes.
Ward started the third-quarter scoring freenzy with his second touchdown run to give the Bulldogs a 19-7 lead with 9:34 remaining in the third quarter.
Less than a minute later, Mt. Zion was back in the end zone as Forest Park fumbled away the ensuing kickoff.
Three plays into the drive, Curtis Jacobs scored on a 14-yard touchdown as Mt. Zion took a 25-7 lead.
With 4:19 remaining in the third quarter, Davis scored his second touchdown of the game.
The Bulldogs rounded out the scoring early in the fourth quarter when Quinton Anderson fell on a blocked punt in the end zone.
Defensively, Valin Leggett intercepted two passes for the Bulldogs.