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Huge 2nd half propels Gators
Bulloch Academy senior defensive back Bailey Smith, right, breaks up a pass attempt in first quarter action on Friday against Robert Toombs Christian Academy at Gator Alley. - photo by BRYAN BURKE/Special to the Herald

Box Score
                           RTCA    BA
First Downs            17    18
Rushing            42-210    38-428
Passing Yards    129    65
Total Yards         339    493
C-A-I                12-24-1    2-4-0
Turnovers               1    0
Penalties              9-65    7-43

Individual Leaders
Rushing: BA: Averitt 14-281,  Sheppard 11-54; RTCA: Dingle 14-67, Rogers 7-98.
Passing: BA: Waters 2-4-0-1, 65; RTCA: Braddock 8-20-1-1, 96.
Receiving:  BA: Blitch 1-37; RTCA: Campbell 4-13.

RTCA     0    18      0      0 — 18
BA    0    14    16    14 — 44

Second Quarter   
11:09 — Matt Glisson (RTCA) 30 FG
8:18 — Loy Waters (BA) 1 run (J.P. Padilla kick)
7:07 — Rico Rogers (RTCA) 69 run (Hunter Braddock to Marcus Trull)
3:58 — Bailey Smith (BA) 15 run (Padilla kick)
0:58 — Marion Dingle (RTCA) 37 pass from Braddock (Glisson kick)
Third Quarter
8:35 — Padilla (BA) 31 FG
4:09 — Waters (BA) 1 run (Padilla kick)
0:19 — Harrison Averitt (BA) 77 run (kick failed)
Fourth Quarter
8:11 — Matthew Blitch (BA) 37 pass from Waters (Padilla kick)
4:32 — Averitt (BA) 59 run (Padilla kick), 4:32

    Bulloch Academy scored 30 unanswered points in the second half to run away from Robert Toombs Christian Academy 44-18 Friday night at Gator Alley.
    Down 18-14 at halftime, the Gators avoided the upset with talented teamwork and individual second-half efforts.
    “We played like we were supposed to in the third quarter,” BA head coach Ronnie Hodges said. “We finally realized that people aren’t going to lay down for us and let us win.”
    Senior tailback Harrison Averitt had a monster game. On offense, he rushed for 281 yards on 14 carries and had electrifying touchdown runs of 77 and 59 yards. He also threw some wicked blocks, which sprang his teammates.
    On defense, he stopped an RTCA scoring drive with an interception in the BA end zone and seemed to be in on tackles all over the field.
    “He clicked everywhere … running the ball, blocking and on defense,” Hodges said. “That’s the kind of effort we have to have every week from him, Bailey (Smith), Matt (Sheppard), Loy (Waters) and that crowd.”
    But the area rivalry was anything but easy for the Gators in the opening 24 minutes.
    Robert Toombs (2-2) came out strong in the first quarter, using a no-huddle offense that featured coaches calling the plays from the sidelines with large signs that were held up on poles.
The Crusaders dominated on offense as they ran 22 first-quarter plays to Bulloch’s 3. Still, the Crusaders could manage only a 30-yard field goal from Matt Glisson on the first play of the second stanza.
    Bulloch (3-0) used its second series of the contest to march 73 yards on nine plays to take a 7-3 lead. Waters plunged in from the 1 with 8:18 remaining. Averitt had the big play of the series, a 34-yard jaunt on the second play.
  The Crusaders retook the lead midway through the quarter. Rico Rogers exploded for a 69-yard touchdown scamper. The ensuring PAT was flubbed by RTCA holder. But quarterback and holder Hunter Braddock found Marcus Trull in the end zone for the two-point conversion for an 11-7 lead.
    Junior Matt Sheppard had a 29-yard return on the ensuing kickoff. BA had to go just 41 yards to retake the lead and did so on a 15-yard run by Smith with 3:58 left. Smith had 83 yards on the night.
    But the Crusaders kept charging. The feisty squad from Lyons mounted an eight-play drive that ended when Braddock hit a wide-open Marion Dingle on a 37-yard scoring strike with 58.6 seconds left in the half.
RTCA’s control didn’t extend to the second half, though.
    Bulloch took the opening kickoff and flew down the field. Waters connected with Smith on a 28-yard pass, and Smith also had a 28-yard run. But the penalties stalled the drive and BA settled for a John Paul Padilla 31-yard field goal for an 18-17 lead at the 8:35 mark of the third quarter.
    After holding RTCA to three plays and out, BA ripped off big chunks of yards again but this time came away with seven points instead of three. Waters plunged from 1 yard out with 4:09 left in the quarter for a 24-18 advantage. Big plays in the drive were a 24-yard scoot from Smith and a 17-yard gallop from Averitt.
    On the next series, RTCA put together a drive and got to the BA 14. Quarterback Josh Mimbs lofted a pass into the end zone, and Averitt wrestled it away from the intended receiver for the touchback. Two plays later, the reigning Class AAA 400-yard dash champion burst through the line and hit the afterburners for a 77-yard
    The Gators scored twice more in the fourth quarter for the final margin.