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Gators use run to stifle Tiftarea
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    CHULA — Bulloch Academy senior Jordan Walker threw for a touchdown, ran for another and helped prevented a Tiftarea score as the fourth-ranked Gators whipped the Panthers 21-7 here Friday night.
    Walker rushed for 106 yards on 20 carries, completed 2-of-6 passes for 44 yards and stopped a second-quarter Tiftarea drive at the Gator 13-yard line with an interception, which he returned 63 yards into Panther territory.
    Bulloch (7-1) scored on its first possession of the game, marching 65 yards in 11 plays. The drive culminated in Gator points when Walker connected with wide receiver Taylor Burke on a 26-yard touchdown at the 7:03 mark of the first quarter. On the play, Burke made a fantastic leaping catch and stiff-armed a would-be tackler to make it into the end zone.
    Tiftarea (4-3) answered right back, driving 62 yards on 13 plays to knot the contest at 7-7. Quarterback Wes Carter bulled over from the BA one-yard line with 50.8 seconds left in the quarter.
    The Gators went three-and-out on their next possession, giving the ball back to Tiftarea at its own 19 early in the second quarter. The ground-oriented Panthers pushed down to the Gator 13 in a time-consuming 11-play drive.  But on the 12th play of the drive, Walker intercepted a Carter pass and returned it 63 yards to the TA 32.
    Bulloch stayed on the ground against the tough TA defense and had a first-and-goal situation from the Panther 8-yard line with time winding down. Senior wingback Ethan Lovett, who rushed for 69 yards on 12 carries on the night, had 17 yards on the series.
    On a fourth-and-goal from the four with four seconds left in the half, Bulloch’s Darion Carter got the call on a wingback pitch. But the lanky senior was stopped at the goal line as time expired.
    In the second half, Bulloch’s defense rose to the occassion. The Gators held Tiftarea to just 60 yards (61 rushing, minus 1 passing). Leading the second-half surge was Michael Kimbrell, Ben Newton, Corey Owens and Michael Deloach.
    Meanwhile, the Gator offense gave itself some breathing room.
    After taking over on downs after BA’s defense held on a fourth-and-seven at the Gator 33, Bulloch’s offense came out firing on all cylinders. Lovett had back-to-back 11-yard runs. Walker netted 24 yards on a carry. Sophomore fullback Matthew Sapp, who had 28 tough yards on seven carries, also got into the action. The finishing blow was provided by Carter, who took the ball at the Tiftarea 17 and plowed his way through three defenders before entering the end zone at the 6:58 mark.
    A fired-up Gator defense held Tiftarea to just seven yards on the Panthers’ next two possessions.
    Bulloch drove the nail into TA’s coffin with force in the fourth quarter. Taking over at their own 27-yard line early in the quarter, the Gators drove 12 plays to take a 21-7 advantage. In the series, Lovett had a 21-yard jaunt, Sapp had an 11-yard run and Walker had 39 yards on seven totes. His last was a four-yarder into the Panther end zone with 3:36 left in the game.
    Gator senior Will Powell, who hit all three of his extra point attempts on the night, virtually ended the contest with seconds left in the game when he intercepted Carter’s last-ditch pass attempt at the BA 30.