Bruins Batter Banged-Up Bengals

 

South Florence quarterback Nick Jenkins (2) tries to break free from the grasp of Blythewood’s Zavion Holmes. (Photo/Kristy Kimball Massey)

FLORENCE – Injuries. Inexperience. Penalties. Turnovers. Suspensions. All converged at Florence Memorial Stadium Thursday night in a perfect storm of imperfection for the Blythewood Bengals, who dug themselves a 21-0 grave in the first half and were covered over within by the Bruins of South Florence, 38-13.

The Bruins steamrolled the Bengals with a voracious ground attack spearheaded by senior running back Rodney Brunson who gashed Blythewood for 184 yards on 26 carries. The South Florence passing game was none too shabby either, with Nick Jones good for 13 of 24 attempts and a pair of TDs.

“It was nothing we weren’t expecting,” Blythewood head coach Dan Morgan said. “Number one, we’ve got a lot of injuries, but I’m tired of using the injury excuse. But it is a lot. The other thing is, we’ve had some kids make bad decisions and serve some suspensions.”

While Morgan would not talk specifically about player suspensions, one glaring omission to Thursday’s first half was starting quarterback David Isreal. With Isreal on the sidelines for the first two quarters, the Bengal offense struggled mightily. Blythewood managed just four first downs in the first half, 39 yards rushing, 4 yards in the air and, most importantly, zero points.

“We felt we could move the ball pretty good against them with our starting group,” Morgan said. “We never really got our chance until later, and then we lose one of our best receivers on his first play back in there.”

That receiver was Eric Weber, who snagged Isreal’s first pass on the second play of the third quarter for an 8-yard gain, then went down in a heap. Weber left the game never to return, hobbling off on crutches as the team later boarded the west-bound bus.

“He hurt his ankle again,” Morgan said. “We just got him back. It’s been that kind of year.”

While Isreal gave the offense a brief charge to open the second half, completing his first three passes to take the Bengals from their own 23 to the Bruin 29, the drive stalled as Blythewood receivers spit up Isreal’s offerings. Back-to-back dropped passes – one a potential touchdown – gave the ball back to South Florence on downs at the Bruin 30 with 9:42 to go in the quarter. The Bruins then manufactured a punishing 4-minute drive deep into Bengal waters, with Brunson adding the finishing touch on a 7-yard run.

Just like that, the Football Fates had taken a potential 21-7 rally and flipped it into a 28-0 Bruin runaway.

“We just miss opportunities,” Morgan said. “We missed an opportunity on a deep pass. We’ve got to become players who step up when it’s time to make a play. And a lot of that is youth. A lot of the kids we’re talking about out there dropping balls and doing things are guys who lack experience. They’re getting it this year.”

The Bengals finally dented the scoreboard late in the third when Osei Thomas snagged an Isreal pass from 15 yards out with 49 ticks left on the clock.

The ensuing and all-too-obvious onside kick attempt failed, giving the Bruins the short field at their own 46. They chewed up the 54 yards before them in short order, getting close enough for Evan Rabon to boot a 21-yard field goal and give the Bruins a 31-7 lead with 7:49 left in the game.

Driving from their own 20, the Bengals struck back quickly, with a pair of Isreal completions accounting for 80 yards and the score. On second-and-10, Isreal hit Trae Churn at the Blythewood 40 for a first down. Two snaps later, Isreal hit freshman Jordyn Adams with a 60-yard rope with 7:05 left in the contest. The 2-point conversion pass attempt fell incomplete and the Bengals were essentially done for the night. Brunson added a 41-yard TD run for the Bruins with 6:26 to go for the final tally.

With Blythewood now sitting at 2-4 on the season, and with showdowns with Spring Valley, Dutch Fork and the red-hot Redhawks of Westwood looming in their headlights, Morgan and the Bengals have some soul-searching to do.

“The biggest thing right now is we know we’ve got to become a team of better character and better discipline,” Morgan said. “We’re not worried about the wins and losses at this time, we’re focused on helping these kids become better young men. When they become better young men, we’ll be a better football team.

“People keep saying we’ve got a talented ball club,” he added. “Talent doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have the character to back it up.”

 

BHS: 0-0-7-7 – 13

SF: 7-14-7-10 – 38

 

First Quarter

SF – David Vereen 45 pass from Nick Jones (Evan Rabon kick). 6:33.

Second Quarter

SF – J’Kolby Prescott 29 pass from N. Jones (E. Rabon kick). 11:54.

SF – N. Jones 1 run (E. Rabon kick). 8:39.

Third Quarter

SF – Rodney Brunson 7 run (E. Rabon kick). 5:43.

BH – Osei Thomas 15 pass from David Isreal (Tucker Smith kick). 0:49.

Fourth Quarter

SF – E. Rabon 21 FG. 7:49.

BH – Jordyn Adams 60 pass from D. Isreal (Pass failed). 7:05.

SF – R. Brunson 41 run (E. Rabon kick). 6:26.

 

Team Stats

                                                                BHS                                        SFHS

First Downs                                        10                                           20

Rushes/Yards                                    26-43                                     43-239

Passing Yards                                     169                                         144

C-A-INT                                             13-26-0                                 13-24-0

Fumbles/Lost                                    4-2                                          0-0

Penalties/Yards                                6-42                                       9-64

 

Individual Stats

RUSHING: BHS – Osei Thomas 13-36, Dominique Lemon 5-10, Kyle Wright 1-7, David Isreal 2-(-5), Timel Benton 5-(-5). SF – Rodney Brunson 26-184, Nick Jones 9-22, David Vereen 1-18, M. Grimsley 2-13, H. White 4-10, E. Rabon 1-(-8).

RECEIVING: BHS – Joseph Richardson 3-8, Trae Churn 2-40, Sekwan Jenkins 2-21, Daquan Patten 2-16, Osei Thomas 2-15, Jordyn Adams 1-60, Eric Weber 1-9. SF – J. Prescott 5-60, D. Vereen 4-68, H. White 2-4, R. Brunson 1-7, J. Quick 1-5.

PASSING: BHS – David Isreal 9-21, 165 yards, 2TD; Timel Benton 3-4, 1 yard; Dominique Lemon 1-3, 3 yards. SF – Nick Jones 13-24, 144 yards, 2TD.

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