Bruins Burst Bengals’ Bubble

Blythewood’s Zavion Holmes (22) sizes up S. Florence running back Rodney Brunson (35). (Photo/DeAnna Robinson)

S. Florence-39, BHS-7

FLORENCE – Despite holding a slim lead at the end of the first quarter, the Blythewood Bengals gave up 36 unanswered points to South Florence Friday night as the Bengals watched their Class 4A/Division 2 championship aspirations vaporize in a 39-7 first round defeat.

Nick Jones’ three touchdown passes and a 126-yard rushing performance by Rodney Brunson fueled the Bruins offensive effort. The second-seeded Bruins (11-1) earned their 11th straight victory with the win and are boasting a 22-2 record over the past two seasons.

After the game, Blythewood head coach Dan Morgan said his team came out and played the way he wanted them to in the beginning, but did not do enough to sustain a lead throughout the game.

“A lot of times we just didn’t execute,” he said. “We either missed a block here, missed a block there, dropped ball here or a dropped ball there.”

South Florence returned the opening kickoff 80 yards to set up a first-and-goal at the Bengals’ 10-yard line. However, Blythewood stood tall and forced a 33-yard field goal by Evan Rabon.

On their ensuing drive, the Bengals answered with a 7-play, 80-yard march that was capped off by a leaping grab by Eric Weber at the goal line. Scrambling out to his right, David Isreal lofted the jump ball to Weber, who also caught a 19-yard pass on the drive.

At the end of the first quarter the Bengals had an upset on their mind, leading 7-3. However, halfway through the second quarter the Bruins engineered a demoralizing 13-play, 90-yard drive for a touchdown. South Florence converted two third-downs on the possession and on a fourth-and-1 at the Bengals’ 5-yard line, Jones hit David Vereen on a slant route in the end zone.

Leading 10-7, the Bruins would add to their lead just before the end of the half when Jones found Hykeen White dragging across the field from 14 yards away. That scoring possession was set up by Sean Jackson pickoff of Isreal deep in Bengals’ territory.

Trailing 17-7, the Bengals started the second half with the football but were forced to punt after a three-and-out. Near the end of the third quarter the Bruins began to assert themselves on the ground with Brunson, who capped a 6-play, 63-yard drive by bulldozing through the middle of the Blythewood defense and trucking a defender on his way over the goal line.

Brunson averaged nearly 8 yards per carry in the second half and seemed to get stronger as the game went on.

“Their backs have strong will power and want to get down field,” Morgan said. “We don’t have the big guys up front and that makes it hard (to defend).”

South Florence scored on its next possession as well after forcing a Blythewood three-and-out. The Bruins rattled off 10 plays before Jones connected with J’Kolby Prescott on a post route on third-and-goal play from the 20-yard line.

Holding on to a 30-7 advantage, the Bruins added a 17-yard reverse from Vereen and safety late to put the exclamation point on a 39-7 victory.

The Bengals were unable to find an offensive rhythm in the second half and Morgan said it was a combination of South Florence’s pass rush and Blythewood’s offensive line’s failure to protect the quarterback.

“David (Isreal) just didn’t feel good in the pocket,” he noted after the game.

Isreal was sacked six times in the contest. Following the defeat, Morgan said he had to tip his cap to the second-seeded Bruins.

“They played real aggressive and played a great game,” he said.

South Florence will host the 7-seed, North Augusta, on Nov. 21.

BH: 7-0-0-0 – 7

SF: 3-14-6-16 –39

Scoring

First Quarter

SF – Evan Rabon 33 field goal. 9:26

BH – Eric Weber 35 pass from David ISreal (Tucker Smith kick). 7:21

Second Quarter

SF – David Vereen 5 pass from Nick Jones (Evan Rabon kick). 7:41

SF – Hykeen White 14 pass from Nick Jones (Evan Rabon kick). 1:26

Third Quarter

SF – Rodney Brunson 10 run (Evan Rabon kick fail). 2:15

Fourth Quarter

SF – J’Kolby Prescott 20 pass from Nick Jones (Evan Rabon kick). 8:58

SF – David Vereen 17 run (Evan Rabon kick). 6:51

SF – Team safety. 1:23

Team Stats

BH                          RV

First Downs                        7                              14

Rushes/Yards                    29-50                     36-197

Passing Yards                     104                         162

C-A-INT                                7-17-1                   14-30-0

Fumbles/Lost                    2-2                          0-0

Penalties/Yards                 5-45                       10-55

Third downs                       2-11                       6-14

Fourth downs                    0-1                          1-4

Individual Stats

RUSHING: BH – Joseph Richardson 9-41, Osei Thomas 10-39, Dominque Lemon 3-6, David Isreal 6-(-36). SF – Rodney Brunson 25-126, Nick Jones 8-38, David Vereen 1-17, Hykeem White 1-9, Michael Grimsley 1-7.

RECEIVING: BH – Eric Weber 4-91, Daquan Patten 2-16, Dominque Lemon 1-1, Trae Churn 1-(-4). SF – David Vereen 8-106, Hykeem White 2-15, Freddy Sparks 2-14, J’Kolby Prescott 2-27.

PASSING: BH – David Isreal 7-17, 108 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. SF – Nick Jones 14-29, 162 yards, 3 TD 0 INT.

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