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Gators crush Crusaders

    Bulloch Academy made its final home game of the season a memorable one as the Gators trounced longtime rival Trinity Christian School 35-7 Friday night.
    “I was so worried and scared that we would have a letdown after such a big, emotional win last week (a 39-38 shootout with Bethesda),” said BA head coach Ronnie Hodges. “But we had a great week of practice, and the kids were focused. We did not suffer a letdown and, once our kids got going, they did not let up.”
    The Gators (7-2 overall and 5-2 in Region 4-AAA play) rolled up 378 yards of total offense while holding the Crusaders (0-9, 0-7) to just 108.
    “Last year, Trinity upset us (21-14 in Dublin) to knock us out of the playoffs then they got upset by Pinewood to put us back into the playoffs,” said Hodges. “All week long, I have used the revenge factor.”
    Bulloch took a 28-0 halftime advantage and increased it to 35-0 late in the third quarter. Junior quarterback Loy Waters rushed for 103 yards on just five carries, including a quick-hitting 88-yard sprint for a touchdown off an option keeper. Senior fullback Chris Young added 92 yards on 14 carries, and junior halfback Harrison Averitt reached the end zone twice.
    “We did a great job offensively,” said Hodges.
The Gators took the opening kickoff and systematically marched 63 yards in nine plays for the game’s first points. Senior tailback Jaylen Evans turned a busted play into a 4-yard touchdown run at the 7:55 mark. Evans, who had 66 yards on eight carries, reversed his field, raced around the end and leapt into the end zone.
    After a Trinity punt backed the Gators up to their own 11-yard line, Young coughed the ball up at the BA 29. The Crusaders had a prime opportunity to punch in a score on the short field but the Gator defense held and got the ball on downs at their own 17.
    “We also did a great job defensively,” said Hodges. “We played pretty sound football.”
    A penalty backed Bulloch up to its own 12-yard line. Waters ran the option to his right, made a great inside fake and accelerated through the Crusader line. He picked up speed once he hit the TCS defensive backfield and sprinted 88 yards for the night’s second score. John Paul Padilla hit the PAT for a 14-0 lead at the 11:23 mark of the second.
    On Trinity’s next possession, Evans, playing cornerback, stretched out for an interception at the BA 47. Six plays later, Averitt crashed in from three yards out. Padilla’s PAT made it 21-0 with 7:16 left in the half.
    Late in the quarter, the Crusaders had the ball deep in their own territory. TCS punter Michael James Price was back to punt near his own end zone. The ball was snapped high, getting away from Price and rolling into the Crusader end zone. Defensive end Clayton Rogers recovered the fumble for a defensive touchdown with 45 seconds left in the half.
    Trinity also had an odd play on its ensuing possession. After a long kickoff return by Patrick Evans, Crusader quarterback Seth Morton connected with Caleb Carter at the BA 1-yard line. But Carter fumbled the ball into the end zone. Waters, playing linebacker, secured the ball to stop the scoring threat and end the half.
    In the third, the Gators scored on their first possession. Averitt ended a seven-play drive with a 27-yard jaunt at the 5:51 mark for a 35-0 lead.
    From that point, the officials instituted a running clock and Bulloch Academy substituted freely. The young Trinity squad took advantage of the younger BA substitutes and had a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter. Evans, who had 64 hard yards on 20 carries, scored on a 3-yard plunge with :01.1 seconds left.