The Smyrna Bulldogs could never establish a running game against Division II Battle Ground Academy on Friday night.
Without a running game, the Bulldogs lost in their season opener 23-7 to the Wildcats.
After a scoreless first half, BGA scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 14-0 lead.
The Bulldogs' only touchdown came in the fourth quarter with 7:24 remaining. After a 36-yard pass from Jackson Holland to Xavier Kynard set up the Bulldogs at the 1, Jaccarrio Vaughn took the ball into the end zone.
But that was the only offensive highlight for Smyrna, which wound up with just five first downs and 34 rushing yards.
The Bulldogs managed only one first down in the first half. They had two possessions which began inside their 10-yard-line after BGA punts, one which started at the 1 and one which started at the 7.
"Field position killed us," Smyrna coach Matt Williams said. "They had us backed up. They had that punt there inside the 5, and we just couldn't get anything going. Field position dictated play calling in the first half, and they did a good job of keeping us pinned."
The Bulldogs' only first down in the first half came on a pass from Matt Rodell to Kynard for 8 yards, from the 10 to the 18, when their drive started on the 7.
"The bottom line is, we have to be able to run the football and we didn't do that tonight," Williams said. "If we don't run the football, we are in trouble."
Smyrna was able to pick up two first downs on its first possession of the second half, moving it from the 34 to the BGA 38. But the drive stalled, and BGA took over at the 20 after the punt.
The Wildcats drove 80 yards in six plays, the biggest one being a 32-yard pass from quarterback Tucker Beathard to Jordan Tutler. Noah Mayberry scored from 4 yards out to make it 7-0.
Smyrna punted on its next possession, and Ronald Cleveland took the return 60 yards for another touchdown.
Rodell hobbled off the field in the third quarter after a punt, but was able to return later in the game. Backup quarterback Holland threw two deep passes which went right through Smyrna receivers' hands.
"We had open receivers. We had balls hitting receivers in the hands. We've got to catch the football. We've got to do a better job up front of blocking," Williams said. "The bottom line is, we've got to go into practice this week and get better as a football team."
BGA accumulated 243 rushing yards, with 204 coming from Keenan Bass.