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Gators come up short vs. Patriots

BELLVILLE - The Bulloch Academy charged into its annual rivalry game with Pinewood Christian thinking about pulling an upset, but a late first half miscue came back to haunt the Gators and Pinewood rolled in the second half as the Patriots claimed a 41-28 victory Friday night at Lowell Coley Field.

Pinewood running back Kaleb Shuman rushed for three touchdowns while Preston Campbell racked up 166 yards and two more scores as the Patriots overpowered their rivals.

With the win, Pinewood (10-0, 4-0 Region 2-AAA) capped off a perfect regular season and a region championship. The Gators (8-3, 2-2) have punched their ticket to the GISA state playoffs, but will have to settle for a No. 3 seed and a road game to begin their postseason.

"That was a hard-fought game," Bulloch coach Terence Hennessey said. "Give Pinewood credit. Our kids fought hard to the end and I'm proud, but that's a good football team we played."

Trailing 14-7 midway through the second quarter, the Gators came up just short after attempting to convert on 4th-and-8 from near midfield. The Bulloch defense held, but Davis Childs couldn't handle the ensuing punt and the Patriots took over on the BA 30.

The Gator defense appeared to hold again as a Jeffrey Young (8-of-11, 80 yds., TD) pass was knocked away on fourth down, only to find Childs flagged for pass interference. Shuman used the Patriots' new life to cap the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run and PCA carried a 21-7 lead into halftime.

"We just couldn't get their offense off the field," Hennessey said. "Every time we were close, they would make a play or we would have a tough break go against us."

Bulloch tried to pull itself back into contention in the second half. The Gators took the third quarter kickoff and steadily marched, getting a clutch third down run by Lanier Olliff (88 pass yards, 67 rush yards) and a 12 yard third down pass-and-catch conversion from Olliff to Jarves Williams to keep the drive going. By the time Childs plowed in from two yards out, the Gators had clawed within 21-14 and had eaten up over half of the quarter.

But that's where the comeback ended.

Pinewood entered Friday's game averaging nearly 40 points per game and showed its firepower as Shuman quickly answered the Gators' strike with a 1-yard touchdown run to regain the Patriots' two-score lead.

Shuman broke the game open in the final quarter, slipping free for a 23-yard scoring run on his third touchdown of the night.

"We knew that they would try to wear us down with (Campbell and Shuman)," Hennessey said. "In the end, we just got gassed.

Bulloch answered on a 36-yard strike from Olliff to Jarves Williams, but the BA defense couldn't regain possession and the Patriots put things out of reach with an 11-yard touchdown toss from Young to Cameron Dutton.

With the Gators' subs in the game, freshman Don Aaron looked solid in gong 7-for-11 with 116 yards passing and a touchdown to finish the night.

Bulloch Academy will enter the Class AAA playoffs as the No. 3 seed out of Region 2-AAA. Next week, the Gators will travel to John Milledge.

Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.


Box Score

BA 7 0 7 14 — 28

PCA 14 7 7 13 — 41


First Quarter

PCA_Campbell 2 run (Conley kick), 10:03

BA_Budgett 2 run (Marsh kick), 4:56 

PCA_Campbell 10 run (Conley kick), 0:56


Second Quarter

PCA_Shuman 4 run (Conley kick), 5:07


Third Quarter

BA_Childs 2 run (Marsh kick), 5:03

PCA_Shuman 1 run (Conley kick), 2:56


Fourth Quarter

PCA_Shuman 23 run (Conley kick), 10:22

BA_Williams 36 pass from Olliff (Marsh kick), 6:48

PCA_Dutton 11 pass from Young (conversion failed), 1:38

BA_Perry 22 pass from Aaron (Marsh kick), 1:07



First downs 15 17

Total Yards 359 309

Rushes-Yards 34-155 48-229

Passing 204 80

Comp-Att-Int 15-26-0 8-11-0

Turnovers 2 0

Penalties-Yards 6-60 9-70



RUSHING_BA: Lovett 13-67, Olliff 11-67; PCA: Campbell 27-166, 2 TD, Shuman 8-49, 3 TD

Passing_BA: Aaron 7-11-116, TD; PCA: Young 8-11-80, TD

Receiving_BA: Williams 3-65, TD; PCA: Dutton 2-31, TD