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Crusaders defeat Bulloch Academy
W bas will rushing scrambles
Bulloch Academy's Will Rushing scrambles down the field Friday night. - photo by Special

LYONS – Junior tailback Rico Rogers rushed for 178 yards and three touchdowns as Robert Toombs Christian Academy ran roughshod over Bulloch Academy Friday night.

The Crusaders (3-1) used a massive offensive line to help Rogers and his classmate Marion Dingle pummel the Gators, 27-6. RTCA amassed more than 300 yards on the ground. Rogers, who carried the ball 26 times, had scoring runs of 5, 3 and 1 yard while Dingle, who added 103 yards on 22 totes, plunged in from three yards out.

Bulloch (2-1) was overpowered on both sides of the ball throughout the contest but had its shining moments such as a 15-yard touchdown sprint by senior Matt Sheppard, a 29-yard fourth-quarter scramble from junior quarterback Will Rushing and first-quarter blasts from sophomore Andrew Howell. Howell led the Gators with 64 yards on nine carries.
Robert Toombs opened the contest with a time-consuming 13-play, 74-yard scoring drive. The RTCA line pushed the Gator defense around as the Crusaders challenged the BA down linemen and linebackers. The Crusader power game culminated in a 5-yard plunge by Rogers at the 5:20 mark of the first quarter.

But Bulloch answered back with power of its own. Rushing ran the option well while Howell and senior back Zach Sapp ran behind a determined BA line. On a fourth-and-2 at the Gator 47, senior center Connor Fordham rallied his offense by vocally demanding that the Gators go for the first down and waving off the punt team. The result was a 16-yard jaunt by Howell as the drive was kept alive. Three plays later, Sheppard made the corner and raced 15 yards for the score.

BA penalties kept the next RTCA drive alive. A roughing-the-passer call and a pass interference penalty helped the shotgun Crusader offense get into BA territory, where Rogers scored his second TD of the night, a 3-yard, twisting, tackle-breaking run at the 9:18 mark.

Another Gator mistake, this time a fumble around midfield, was the stimulus for another RTCA score. Crusader Garrett Gray pounced on a Howell fumble at the 47-yard line. Five plays later, Dingle reached the end zone for a 21-6 RTCA lead. The big play in the drive was a 29-yard scamper by Rogers.

In the third, Bulloch mounted an opening drive but was forced to punt. Senior J.P. Padilla put the Crusaders back on their own 7-yard line but the home team mounted a massive 16-play drive that extended into the fourth quarter. Rogers plunged over from the 1-yard line on the first play of the final stanza. The PAT attempt failed, giving RTCA the 27-6 lead.

The Gators tried to use their passing game to add some quick scores and catch up. But the timing wasn’t there, as Rushing was sacked twice and hit just one of six passes in the final two drives.