By JOSEPH ODOM
News Sports Writer
Friday night, Oct. 26, the J.U. Blacksher Bulldogs closed their season with a great win over R.C. Hatch.
To start the game, Blacksher kicked off the ball to R.C Hatch. After only 11 plays Hatch turned the ball over on downs leaving Blacksher working from their own 3-yard line. Blacksher turned the ball over on downs after only 4 plays but recovered the ball after Hatch fumbled 1 play later. The fumble was recovered by Blacksher’s #12 linebacker and running back senior Brady Ikner. After an 8-play drive, Blacksher turned the ball over to Hatch on an interception caught in the end zone.
Hatch held possession of the ball into the second quarter but once again turned the ball over on downs after an 11-play drive. The touchdown was scored on a 10-yard run by #2 defensive back and quarterback sophomore K.D. Rabb. The Bulldogs went for the 2-point conversion and were successful making the score 8-0 with 8:05 left in the half.
Hatch was unable to make anything happen again on their next drive which lasted only 4 plays, turning the ball over on downs. After a 9-play drive Blacksher made another touchdown on a 23-yard run by Rabb. The extra point attempt was good making the score 15-0 leaving only 2:57 on the clock.
On their next possession, Hatch was finally able to put their first points of the game on the board making the score 15-6 with only 36 seconds left in the first half. Blacksher refused to leave the game as close as it was going into halftime, widening their lead with a 36-yard pass to #18 linebacker and running back junior Tucker Spence. The extra point attempt was good, making the score 23-6 going into halftime.
After halftime Blacksher started the second half with the ball but turned it over on an interception. Hatch was unable to take advantage of the Bulldogs’ flaw however giving the ball back to Blacksher. Blacksher once again widened their lead even further on a 35-yard run by Rabb making the score 30-6.
Blacksher successfully recovered an onside kick and scored only 3 plays later on a run by #17 linebacker and running back freshman JaDaniel Nettles. This widened Blacksher’s lead even more making the score 38-6 with 4:07 left in the third. With the third quarter coming to a close and Hatch’s hopes dwindling, Hatch finally scored making the score 38-12 going into the fourth quarter.
Only 1 minute into the fourth quarter Blacksher scored again off a run by Nettles making the score 45-12. Blacksher successfully recovered another onside kick but turned the ball over on a fumble which Hatch turned into a touchdown. This made the score 45-18 with 6:52 left in the game.
The Bulldogs fired back after only 12 plays, scoring on a 16-yard run by Nettles making the score 52-18 with 1:39 left in the game. Hatch scored once more before kicking the ball off to Blacksher. Blacksher kneeled the rest of the time off of the clock. The final score was 52-26.
Offensively Blacksher had 381 yards rushing and 80 yards passing for a total of 461 offensive yards. The team was led in rushing yards by Rabb who had 164 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. He was followed in rushing yards by Nettles who totaled 116 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.
Defensively the Bulldogs gave up 190 rushing yards and 89 passing yards for a total of 279 yards given up on defense. The team was led by Spence who had 16 tackles. He was followed by #71 defensive lineman and offensive lineman senior Lane Sims who had a total of 14 tackles with 1 for a loss.
Head Coach Wes Sims said, “Friday was a great win for us. We played well, but gave up some turnovers and big plays. I hate that we are not in the playoffs. We got off to a rough start, but played well to finish out our season. I am looking forward to next season, a lot of guys gained experience this past season. We will get bigger and stronger in the offseason. We start offseason workouts on Monday.” Blacksher closed their season with a 4-6 record and has already started preparing for next year’s football season.