by: BILLY GATES/THE PIONEER - Culver quarterback Tanner Davis looks to hand the ball off during the Bulldogs' loss to Kennedy on Friday. Big, physical Kennedy line too much for Bulldogs

The Culver High School football team was simply overwhelmed by the Kennedy Trojans in the trenches in a 49-0 loss Friday in Culver.

While the Bulldogs were able to move the ball much better in the second half of the game, Kennedy was able to come through with big defensive plays when they needed them to keep the shutout alive.

“We came out a bit flat in the first half, and I’m not really sure why,” Culver coach Shea Little said. “We might have been intimidated a little bit, and we talked about Kennedy being big up front all week, but I was proud with the way the kids stepped up both emotionally and physically in the second half.”

With senior starting quarterback Clay McClure on the sidelines with an ankle injury he sustained two weeks ago against Regis, sophomore Tanner Davis started his second game of the season behind center.

by: BILLY GATES/THE PIONEER - Culver's Juan Diaz tries to knock down a pass during the Bulldogs' loss to Kennedy on Friday.He quarterbacked the Bulldogs to last week’s 48-14 win against Santiam, and with two more years left he’ll more than likely be the guy to take snaps after McClure, a junior, and No. 2 quarterback Bolt Anglen, a senior, graduate.

Davis isn’t a big kid by any means at 5-foot-8, 155 pounds, but he made his presence felt a couple times during the game with punishing scrambles down the sidelines. There was a fourth-quarter run in which he lowered his head and ran over a Kennedy defender to gain a first down, and it provided a late shot of energy for the Bulldogs.

“Tanner has kind of been our utility man this season,” Little said. “We’ve moved him around all over the place, from tight end to tackle to fullback, and the kid has been doing an outstanding job for us this season.”

McClure should be ready to go by this week’s game against Toledo, Little said. The coaching staff has been conservative with his ankle injury, and they just want to make sure it’s fully healed before they put him back on the field. In the meantime, Davis taking the snaps for the Bulldogs is something that fans should get used to seeing in the future.

“He’s got fire and passion, and he works hard,” Little said of Davis. “We’re excited about what he can do for us moving forward.”

Kennedy’s fullhouse offense dictated the pace of the game from the outset, especially through the first half. It seemed the Trojans could do whatever they wanted, when they wanted, and the Bulldog defense had a tough time stopping it.

With just eight seniors on the team, though, stopping a team with as much size, skill and experience as Kennedy is next to impossible, but Little was able to find some positive feelings about the game, and some things the team can build on in its preparation for the Boomers on Friday.

“We were still impressed with the second half of the game,” Little said. “We need to learn to start the game like we can take it to the house every time. We need to start strong, and that’s all there is to it.”

Toledo enters this week tied with Bulldogs for fourth in the Tri-River Conference with a 1-3 record. The Boomers’ only conference win came against Santiam on Sept. 27, 41-7. Toledo had to forfeit a league game against Regis due to a lack of players, as reported on the OSAA Scorecenter, two weeks ago. Last week, the Boomers fell to Central Linn in a 62-41 shootout in Toledo.

Little said the game against the Boomers should be competitive, which was one of the main reasons he chose not to rush McClure back into his starting quarterback job.

“We’ve got to come out and punch them in the mouth,” Little said, figuratively. “We continued on our road to success in the second half of the Kennedy game, and we’re looking at carrying that over.”

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