Bengals Edge Bruins in Slippery Shootout

Jacob McGuire sails out of bounds Thursday after hauling in a David Isreal pass. (Photo/Kristy Kimball Massey)

Jacob McGuire sails out of bounds Thursday after hauling in a David Isreal pass. (Photo/Kristy Kimball Massey)

BLYTHEWOOD – In a game that was pushed up a day in order to avoid the severe and heavy rains expected on Friday, the Blythewood Bengals and South Florence Bruins slugged it out in a steady drizzle Thursday night at Richland 2 Stadium.

Although senior Bruins running back Michael Grimsley chewed up the turf for 198 yards and quarterback Lindsey Robinson threw for 201 more, including three touchdowns, a pair of late turnovers by South Florence ultimately spelled their demise as the Bengals eked out a narrow 38-34 win.

“It’s just one of those games where you just hope you don’t make a mistake,” Blythewood head coach Dan Morgan said. “That last (turnover) was by far the biggest one, but both of them were incredible.”

Remarkably enough, neither team put the slippery ball on the ground the entire first half, with the only turnover coming on a Cole Brown interception of a Robinson pass near the Blythewood 37 with 7:09 left in the second quarter.

But it was Brown’s second pick of the night that all but sealed the deal for a Bengal team clinging to a 4-point edge. With 2:30 left in the game and the Bruins on the march, Brown jumped the route and snagged his second turnover at the Bengal 37 to end what appeared to be the final South Florence threat.

But the Bruins defense held Blythewood in check, forcing a three-and-out. South Florence, with 1:30 left in the game, was going to get one more shot.

“We just didn’t execute down the stretch,” Morgan said. “I’m going to take the blame for that. We’ve got to get better executing down the stretch and getting things accomplished. We had plenty of chances to put the game away and we just didn’t do it.”

The Bruins’ last gasp, however, left their lungs when Hykeem White, who had been sure-handed all night long in the wind-swept mist, lost the handle on the punt near the South Florence 30. Khris Pam scooped up the loose ball and scampered into the end zone, but was ruled down at the Bruin 29. From there, the Bengals ran out the clock and escaped with the win.

“You hate for either team to lose because both teams played hard, considering the weather, considering we played a day earlier,” Morgan said. “We got the ‘W’ against a very good ball club.”

The Bengals lit up the scoreboard on their first possession, taking over at their own 35 after forcing a Bruin punt. Blythewood quarterback David Isreal capped the six-play drive with an 11-yard pass to Derambez Drinkard, and Cody Turner’s kick made it 7-0 with 7:58 left in the first.

The Bruins, on their ensuing possession, made it clear this was going to be a shoot-out. On their second snap of the drive, Grimsely exploded with a 68-yard TD run. Shane Neal’s point-after tied the game at the 7:30 mark.

Isreal polished off an 80-yard, 2:28 drive with a 21-yard TD run on Blythewood’s next possession, and Turner’s PAT put the Bengals back out front 14-7 with 5:02 left in the first.

The Bruins then marched 60 yards on their next assault, with Grimsley again adding the exclamation point with a 10-yard TD run. But on the point after, South Florence made their first crucial mistake, flubbing the PAT. With 1:19 to go in the quarter, the Bengals held a 14-13 advantage.

Drinkard quickly added to that edge, taking the ensuing kickoff and blasting through the Bruins’ coverage for an 86-yard touchdown return. Turner’s PAT pushed Blythewood to a 21-13 lead with 1:03 to go.

Turner added 3 more in the second quarter with a 38-yard field goal at the 8:50 point, while the Bruins narrowed the gap to 24-20 with a 45-yard scoring pass from Robinson to White with 4:13 left in the half.

The Bengals opened the third in apparent command, driving from their 42 to the Bruins’ 28. Osei Thomas then broke a run down to the South Florence goal line, but spit up the ball just before crossing into the Promised Land. The Bruins recovered at their 2-yard line, but could make nothing of it, narrowly evading a safety on two plays.

The Bengals took the punt in prime field position and quickly moved from the South Florence 22 to a first-and-goal at the 3. Isreal slipped into the end zone on second-and-goal, upping the ante to 31-20.

The Bruins made their second critical error on the ensuing kickoff, fumbling the return. JaQuan Epps recovered for the Bengals at the South Florence 18 and five plays later, Thomas redeemed himself from 5 yards out. The PAT by Turner gave the Bengals their biggest lead, and last points of the game.

Down 38-20 with 4 minutes left in the third, the Bruins rallied, driving 80 yards to pay dirt on their next possession. Robinson hit White from 14 yards out to make it 38-27.

The Bengal offense began to sputter down the stretch, while the Bruins appeared to be clicking on all cylinders. Early in the final frame, the Bruins plowed up 70 yards to draw within 4 points on a 9-yard pass from Robinson to Ty King with just over 8 minutes left in the contest.

But the late turnovers finally put the lights out on the South Florence comeback.

Now 5-1, the Bengals head into region play next week at Spring Valley.

“It’s going to be a big one,” Morgan said. “Every region game this year is going to be tough. It’s a tough region, and you can’t slip up. Nobody can slip up.”

Spring Valley, which opened the season on a 3-0 hot streak, was handed its third consecutive loss Thursday night, falling to White Knoll at home, 28-21.

 

SFHS: 13-7-7-7 – 34

BHS: 21-3-14-0 – 38

 

Scoring

First Quarter

BHS – Derambez Drinkard 16 pass from David Isreal (Cody Turner kick). 7:58.

SF – M. Grimsley 68 run (S. Neal kick). 7:30.

BHS – D. Isreal 21 run (C. Turner kick). 5:02.

SF – M. Grimsely 10 run (Pass failed). 1:19.

BHS – D. Drinkard 86 kickoff return (C. Turner kick). 1:03.

Second Quarter

BHS – C. Turner 38 FG. 8:50.

SF – H. White 45 pass from L. Robinson (S. Neal kick). 4:13.

Third Quarter

BHS – D. Isreal 3 run (C. Turner kick). 5:30.

BHS – Osei Thomas 5 run (C. Turner kick). 4:00.

SF – H. White 14 pass from L. Robinson (S. Neal kick). 2:00.

Fourth Quarter

SF – T. King 9 pass from L. Robinson (S. Neal kick). 8:06.

 

Team Stats

SF                           BHS

First Downs                        19                           16

Rushes-Yards                     25-212                   52-238

Passing Yards                     201                        126

C-A-I                                      19-32-2                 7-13-0

Punts/Avg.                         3-34.0                   3-42.0

Fumbles-Lost                     2-1                         4-1

Penalties-Yards                5-36                      10-89

Third-Down Conv.           5-11                      2-10

Fourth-Down Conv.        0-1                          1-3

 

Individual Stats

RUSHING: SF – M. Grimsley 20-198, L. Robinson 4-16, H. White 1-(-2). BHS – David Isreal 22-101, Osei Thomas 14-80, Kyle Wright 12-64, Jordyn Adams 1-5, TEAM 3-(-12).

PASSING: SF – L. Robinson 19-32, 201 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT. BHS – David Isreal 7-13, 126 yards, TD.

RECEIVING: SF – H. White 6-58, D. Vereen 6-49, T. King 4-72, J. Quick 2-13, M. Grimsley 1-9. BHS – Jacob McGuire 2-56, Kenny Benton 2-23, Eric Weber 1-32, Derambez Drinkard 1-16, Jordyn Adams 1-(-1).

Records: SF – 3-3. BHS – 5-1.