Bearcats Exploit Bengal Youth in Opener

 

Blythewood’s Timel Benton (11) tries to break free from the Rock Hill defense. (Photo/Kristy Kimball Massey)

BLYTHEWOOD – Bengals’ head coach Dan Morgan said before the season that his Bengals would be talented but young this year. In the opener Friday night against Rock Hill, it was the youth that showed up as Blythewood fell 40-6 to the Bearcats at home.

There is hope, however. Last season, the Bengals fell to South Pointe, also from Rock Hill, to open the season and went on to win seven of their next 10 games and finish 7-5. Friday night, Blythewood lost two fumbles, but probably the biggest sign of their youth was the penalties. The Bengals committed 14 for 125 yards while the visitors from Rock Hill had half that many with seven for 74 yards.

“It’s part of the youth we’ve got right now,” Morgan said. “On defense we’ve got two returning starters with varsity time. Offensively, you talk about shooting ourselves in the foot over and over. We can’t have that many mental mistakes.”

The offense went three-and-out on the first possession, but the Blythewood defense stiffened and forced a turnover on downs after allowing the Bearcats to drive as far as the Bengal 17. After another punt, this time Rock Hill drove 82 yards in nine plays and junior Timothy Sherer ran in from 8 yards out to put the Bearcats on the board. The 2-point conversion made it 8-0.

After another Blythewood three-and-out, the Bengal D forced one of their own. However, they were whistled for roughing the punter and Rock Hill got a free first down. This would prove to be one of the more costly mistakes of the game. Five plays later, the home team would get a little unlucky as well. Junior Rock Hill quarterback Cameron McKinney’s pass was deflected but went straight into the hands of an alert Brandon Croutch for the Bearcats. Croutch never broke stride and raced 46 yards in front of a stunned home crowd to make the score 15-0 with 10:24 left in the first half.

“When you give any of the teams from Rock Hill extra opportunities, it’s not a good thing,” Morgan said.

The Bengals again failed to get a first down on the ensuing possession and the punt snap sailed high over punter Tucker Smith’s head. Smith alertly kicked the ball out of the back of the end zone to prevent a Rock Hill touchdown, but the resulting safety made it 17-0.

“We were worried about this going in,” Morgan said. “We were worried how our young kids would handle adversity on a Friday night when everything is not going perfect.”

Blythewood did force punts on the Bearcats’ next two possessions, but the offense just could not get anything going. When they did manage to string together back-to-back first downs, junior quarterback David Isreal fumbled after a 9-yard run to give the ball back to Rock Hill.

With 1:02 left in the half, the Bearcats’ McKinney hit on a 52-yard touchdown pass to junior John McCullough to make it 24-0 headed to the half.

The visitors picked up right where they left off to start the third quarter. McKinney and McCullough hooked up again on a play almost identical to their first touchdown connection. This 33-yarder made it 30-0 and the 11-play, 80-yard drive seemed to demoralize the young Bengals.

The defense had a chance to get off the field before the touchdown, but a 25-yard completion on third-and-19 kept the drive alive.

Blythewood’s young squad did not lay down however, and their efforts paid off with 6:22 remaining in the game when Israel hit junior receiver Daquan Patten with a 13-yard scoring strike for the Bengals’ first points of 2014. The drive consisted of 82 yards in seven plays.

Israel was 17-for-32 for 204 yards, the touchdown and no interceptions. Sophomore receiver Sekwan Jenkins had four catches for 73 yards. One key stat in the game was that Blythewood was 0-for-10 on third-down conversion opportunities.

“Our staff has got to look ourselves in the mirror and say we’ve got to get them better prepared no matter how young we are right now,” Morgan said.

In week two, the Bengals will host Ridge View, a team they beat 49-16 last season, for the first of two meetings with the Blazers this season. The first meeting will not count in the Region IV-4A standings.

“We looked at this as a true marathon of a season,” Morgan said. “We didn’t think we would come out of the blocks screaming along.”

 

Rock Hill 40, Blythewood 6
RH: 8-16-9-7 – 40

BW: 0-0-0-6 – 6

Scoring summary

RH-Timothy Sherer 8 run (Da’Chon Witherspoon 3 run)

RH-Brandon Croutch 46 pass from Cameron McKinney (Cameron Long kick)

RH-Team safety

RH-John McCullough 52 pass from McKinney (Long kick)

RH-McCullough 33 pass from McKinney (run failed)

RH-Long 32 field goal

BW-Daquan Patten 13 pass from David Israel (pass failed)

RH-Thailand Adams 19 pass from Dylan Jones (Long kick)

Team statistics

RH                                          BW

First downs                                                         23                                           13

Rushes/yards                                                    36-166                                   22-(-6)

Passing                                                                                 24-34-0                                 17-32-0

Passing yards                                                     297                                         210

Fumbles/lost                                                     2-0                                          4-2

Penalties/yards                                                                7-74                                       14-125

Individual statistics

RUSHING: Rock Hill – Brandon Croutch 16-148, Timothy Sherer 9-44, Dylan Jones 2-10, McKinney 7-(-30), Team 1-(-6). Blythewood – Darius Burris 4-11, David Israel 10-6, D’Andre Fletcher 3-3, Sekwan Jenkins 3-0, Timel Benton 1-0.

PASSING: Rock Hill – McKinney 19-28-0, 257 yards; Jones 5-6-0, 40 yards. Blythewood – Israel 17-32-0, 210 yards.

RECEIVING: Rock Hill – Sherer 5-47, John McCullough 4-97, Croutch 4-73, Deshaun McFadden 4-37, Austin Bailey, Antonio Hardy 1-2, Thailand Adams 2-19. Blythewood – Jenkins 4-73, Trae Churn 3-32, Daquan Patten 3-31, Fletcher 2-34, Burris 2-15, Eric Weber 2-14, Benton 1-11. 

RECORDS: Rock Hill – 1-0; Blythewood – 0-1.