Bulloch Academy’s Darion Carter was a triple threat Friday night against Briarwood Academy.
Carter ran for a score, caught a touchdown pass and returned an interception for six more as he helped lead the Gators to a 31-14 victory over the Buccaneers at Gator Alley.
“Any time you score three touchdowns three different ways, it’s a pretty big feat,” said BA head coach Clint Morgan. “He had a great game and played well both offensively and defensively.”
The Screven County transfer and member of the WTOC Pre-Season All-Star football team had a six-yard plunge in the first quarter, a 10-yard TD reception in the third and a 40-yard interception return in the fourth. His final score at the 11:48 mark of the final 12 minutes put the Gators up 31-0.
Bulloch quarterback Jordan Walker had a banner night as well, completing 12-of-18 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns. Walker lofted a two-yard score to Ethan Lovett at the 8:53 mark of the third.
“Jordan had a great game as well,” said Morgan. “We preached balance all week and that was our goal going into the game. We added another dimension to our offense tonight. Opposing coaches are probably going to be scratching their heads when they see this film. It’s going to be a shock to them to see us throwing the ball 19 times. We showed tonight that we are not just a running team.”
Bulloch (4-1) scored 17 unanswered points in the third quarter as the Gators capitalized on Briarwood mistakes.
With BA holding a fragile 7-0 leading headed into the third quarter, the Bucs (1-3) took the second-half kickoff. Two plays later, BA defensive end Eli Strickland alertly pounced on Cane Gilmer’s fumble. Eight plays later, Walker drifted the two-yard TD pass to Lovett for a 14-7 lead.
On Briarwood’s ensuing possession, quarterback Chase Walker was picked off by sophomore cornerback Taylor Burke at the Buc 30. Burke then proceeded to have a 20-yard catch-and-scamper down to the Briarwood 10. On the next play, Walker hit Carter on a slant route for a 21-0 lead.
The visitors went three-plays-and-out on the next series and gave Bulloch the ball back at midfield. A seven-play drive stalled at the Buc 16. Kicker Will Powell, who was four-of-four on the night in extra points, drilled a 33-yard field goal with 59.3 seconds left in the quarter for a 24-0 lead.
Briarwood started off the fourth with a penalty, but things got a lot worse.
On the second play of the final quarter, Carter, playing strong safety, gave Buc receiver Hughlon Mays plenty of cushion on the left side. When Buc quarterback Chase Walker turned to throw a quick hitter to Mays, Carter accelerated, tipped the ball with one hand, then gathered it in with both big paws and raced 40 yards to the end zone.
Bulloch substituted freely for the remainder of the fourth and the Bucs scored two late touchdowns. Nick Dawson was the workhorse of the drive, plunging in from four yards out both times. He led the Briarwood ground game with 87 yards on 16 carries.The Gators scored on their opening possession of the contest, ending a 10-play drive with a five-yard run by Carter with 8:17 left in the first quarter.