Bulloch Academy defeated Frederica Academy 8-7 on Wednesday night in what many fans called the greatest game they've ever seen in Gator Alley. The Gators (5-1-1) victory tonight puts them in the drivers seat for the region title with a record of 2-0, while giving the Knights their first loss of the season.
The two teams decided at 11:30 this morning to play their game this evening as Hurricane Matthew was determined to wreak havoc on football and school schedules up and down the Georgia coast. Both teams came into the game with only two full days of practice, and their offenses showed in the first half. The only scoring threats in the half came on a missed 38 yard field goal by the Knights, and a blocked 40 yard attempt by the Gators with 5 seconds to go in the half to keep the game scoreless.
The Knights (7-1) high powered offense got going in the 3rd quarter as Knight quarterback Gaven Williams dove in from 1 yard out the give the Knights a 7-0 lead with 7:32 left in the quarter. The play was set up by a 49 yard run by Knight running back Ja’Shawn Sheffield.
The Knights threatened again later in the quarter as they drove the ball inside the Gator five yard line. With a 4th and goal situation, the Knights decided to kick a field goal. The kick was good, but an offsides penalty on the Gators allowed the Knights to move half the distance to the goal. The Knights decided to take the points off the board and go for the touchdown. Williams’ pass only found grass, as the Gators held and only trailed the Knights 7-0 going into the 4th quarter.
The Gators and Knights both exchanged possessions until late in the 4th quarter when the Gators finally got things going on offense. Several key runs up the middle moved the ball close to midfield, but the drive appeared stalled with a 4 and 14 lingering at the Gator 45 yard line. Gator Head Coach Terence Hennessy never hesitated as the Gators went for it. Sophomore quarterback Don Aaron completed a 35 yard pass to senior running back Jake Mock to keep the drive alive. “Jake told me that if I call the vertical, that he'll catch it,” said Hennessy. “And Don threw a beautiful pass that only Jake could catch.”
The Gators continued to move the ball down the field, as Senior running back Tyce Lovett ran in from 3 yards out to make the score 7-6 with the extra point remaining. The Gators took a timeout as the entire team huddled to discuss their options. “I told the team at halftime, that if we need a two point conversion to win, then we're going for it,” said Hennessy. “I asked Tyce if he could get me two yards, and you know what his answer was.” The answer was obviously “yes sir” as he pounded it in to give the Gators an 8-7 lead with 2:39 left in the game.
The Gators defense did their part as they had the entire night. The bend but don't break defense did just that, as they forced the Knight into a 4th and very long with 49 seconds left in the game. Williams hail mary pass fell into the arms of Senior free safety Davis Childs to secure the Gator victory.
“The entire team earned this win. From our Freshmen who didn't touch the field tonight, to our Seniors. They worked their tails off this week to prepare for this game,” said Hennessy. “I can't say enough about this team. Our guys made the plays to give us a chance to play another down. They deserved this victory.”
The Gators will be on the road next week as they travel to Dublin to take on Trinity Christian.