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Harden breaks records; BA wins 40, 7

    Senior James Brack scored on both offense and defense as classmate John Harden broke into the record book twice in Bulloch Academy’s 40-7 thrashing of Robert Toombs Christian Academy Friday night at Gator Alley.
    Brack, a linebacker, picked off a Justin Brinson pass on the first play of the second quarter and took it in from 21 yards out for a score. In the third quarter, Brack, a reserve wide receiver, caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Brandon Walker.
    But the loudest cheers from the BA faithful came in the first quarter when Harden drilled a record-setting 48-yard field goal for the Gators’ first points at the 5:57 mark. Harden’s kick, which had room to spare, broke the 27-year old record of 45 yards, which was held by Wes Chester.
    A BA penalty late in the third quarter set up Harden’s next kicking feat. After the Walker-to-Brack touchdown pass and the ensuing PAT late in the third quarter, Harden put the ball on the tee at the 40-yard line for the kickoff. But the Gators were whistled for offsides, putting the ball back five more yards. It didn’t seem to matter as Harden pounded the ball into the RTCA end zone for a 65-yard touchback, the longest kickoff in BA history.
    Bulloch (2-0) took a commanding 26-0 lead at halftime but it wasn’t as pretty nor was it as easy as it had been earlier in the season.
    Harden’s three points in the first quarter came after senior fullback Lestonz Lewis fumbled the pitch and lost 17 yards on a third-and-one situation at the RTCA 14. But Lewis, who had 111 tough yards on 14 carries, repented on the next series by toting the pigskin 15 yards to paydirt. On the drive, Walker had a 55-yard touchdown run nullified by a penalty but the senior signal caller turned right around, ran the same play and picked up 53 yards. Walker led the Gators with 115 yards on eight carries.
    Brack’s interception and score started off the second quarter as BA took a 17-0 lead.
    Bulloch’s defense shone in the first half as they drilled RTCA’s offensive leader Justin Brinson and stopped any attempt at an offensive series. For the night, the Crusader senior quarterback had 48 yards. Linebackers Brack and sophomore Loy Waters made great reads and stops. Cornerbacks Harrison Averitt and Bailey Smith were played a lockdown secondary and had strong run support. Nose guard Blaine Lovett, defensive tackles Jonathan Lumpkin and Caleb Bohannon and defensive ends Clayton Rogers and Chris Young clamped down on the Crusaders.
    After a 53-yard punt by Lewis trapped the Crusaders at the one-yard line late in the second quarter, Waters blasted through three blockers to tackle Brinson in the end zone for a safety at the 1:52 mark.
    In Bulloch’s next possession, Walker threw three passes to his favorite target, senior Ellis Lane, with the final toss being a seven-yard TD strike with just 32.4 left. He also had a remarkable 11-yard scramble on a third-and-nine situation.
    The Gators put the game away in the third quarter but their focus seemed to drift as they were flagged for eight second-half penalties. For the game, Bulloch had 11 penalties for 80 yards.
    In the final period, Bulloch substituted freely and saw some great things from young running backs Harrison Averitt, Bailey Smith, Zach Sapp, Matt Sheppard and Waters at quarterback.
    BA begins its Region 1-AAA schedule next week on the road, traveling to Chula to take on Tiftarea Academy.