First Downs 14 14
Rushing 37-377 27-83 Pass Yards 0 207
Total Yards 377 290
Passing 0-3-1 12-27-2
Punts 3-14 3-37
Penalties 8-80 10-65
Rushing: BA: Waters 11-178, Young 10-100, Evans 9-75; PCA: Dalton Johnson 9-35, Ethan Kumpula 10-32
Passing: BA: Waters 0-3-1-0, 0; PCA: Lawson 12-26-2-3, 207
Receiving: PCA: Bland 6-109, Sharp 4-65
BA 7 7 0 28 — 42
PCA 7 7 0 7 — 21
11:00 — Young (BA) 1-yard run (Padilla kick).
7:52 — Sharp (PCA) 30-yard pass from Lawson (Guy kick).
11:31 — Sharp (PCA) 16-yard pass from Lawson (Guy kick).
4:05 — Young (BA) 4-yard run (Padilla kick).
11:06— David Bland (PCA) 29 pass from Lawson (Guy kick).
10:53 — Waters (BA) 62-yard run (Padilla kick).
10:31 — Evans (BA) 41-yard run (Padilla kick),
3:07 — Waters (BA) 69-yard run (Padilla kick).
BELLVILLE — Bulloch Academy scored 28 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to outlast Pinewood Christian Academy Friday night and capture its second straight trip to the GISA Class AAA playoffs.
With the win, the Gators (8-2 overall and 6-2 in region play) secure the third seed in Region 1-AAA and will play the second seed from Region 2-AAA next Friday night. Bulloch will most likely travel to Macon to battle Stratford Academy.
Early in the fourth quarter, it seemed the momentum of the game had swung to the homestanding Patriots.
Bulloch had two third-quarter touchdowns called back because of penalties and the Gators were frustrated and flat. PCA quarterback Johnathon Lawson hit David Bland on a 29-yard scoring strike on the second play from scrimmage to put the Patriots up 21-14. Lawson carved up the Gator defense on the night, throwing for three touchdowns and 207 yards.
But the Gators jolted back to life at the 10:53 mark by an electrifying run from quarterback Loy Waters.
Waters, who has been stellar running the option for the Gators this season, made the right read and found a seam on an option keeper. He dashed into the PCA secondary and scampered 62 yards to knot the game at 21-21. The junior led the Gators on with ground with 178 yards.
On the ensuing kickoff, Bland got the ball at the PCA three. At the 15, he was met with a vicious hit from kickoff team specialists Eddie Howard and Daniel Hendrix. The ball popped out and Howard recovered it. After a procedure penalty backed Bulloch to the 20, senior Jaylen Evans got the pitch, danced around the left end and hit paydirt with 10:31 left in the game. John Paul Padilla’s PAT gave Bulloch a 28-21 lead.
“The boys didn’t quit,” said BA head coach Ronnie Hodges. “That’s what they do so well. They have so much heart. They really took the fight to Pinewood in the fourth quarter.”
The Gators stopped a Patriot drive and got the ball back at their own 43.
Seven plays later, Evans got loose again. The senior speedster got some great blocks to spring him from the initial line of scrimmage. Then he wriggled and twisted his way out of the grasp of PCA defenders to score on a 41-yard run with 4:56 left in the game. With a two-touchdown lead, the Gators defense poured it on.
Harrison Averitt picked off a Lawson pass at the 3:27 mark. Bulloch seemed to try and play it safe on the next series. But Waters found the exact same seam open and raced 69 yards with 3:07 to put the game on ice.
Bulloch scored on its first possession of the game. Senior fullback Chris Young had runs of 31 yards and 28 yards behind big offensive tackle Conner Fordham. Then Young finished it off with a one-yard scoring plunge. He had 100 yards on the night.
But the Patriots raced back down the field, surprising the Gators with their aerial attack. Lawson connected with Bland and Wayne Sharp on a seven-play drive which ended with a 30-yard TD pass to Sharp.
Pinewood (5-5, 4-4) took a 14-7 lead on the first play of the second quarter when Lawson again connected with Sharp, this time on a 16-yard scoring strike. Punter Tanner Guy had the big play in the drive.
On a fourth-and-11, he dropped back to punt. But the snap was low and away so he decided to tuck it in and run. It caught the Gators off guard and he gained 21 yards and kept the drive alive. Five plays later, PCA took the lead.
PCA held the Gators to three-plays-and-out to give the ball back to the Patriots at midfield. But BA defensive end Clayton Rogers recovered Lawson’s fumble on the first play. Bulloch then marched 50 yards on 12 plays to knot the score at 14-14 on a Young four-yard plunge with 4:05 left in the half.