Friday, October 12, 2012
- by B.B. Branton
"How about those Bucs!" exclaimed a happy, relieved Grant Reynolds to his Boyd Buchanan players in a post-game meeting after a convincing 35-21 high school football win at South Pittsburg Friday night.
"Those Bucs" were determined, driven and focused on the task at hand as the visitors led from start to finish, controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and posted one of the most important wins in school history.
The Bucs, with an assistant coach named Grant Reynolds, stunned the prep football world in 1996 with a 17-6 win at South Pittsburg and went on to a 10-0 regular season record.
This veteran 2012 Bucs team came to South Pitt having lost to the Pirates the last two years and recorded another important win to stay unbeaten at 8-0.
"We haven't been 10-0 in the regular season since 1996, so hopefully this win tonight gives us momentum to finish that first goal on the way to a possible state championship," Reynolds said.
Bucs quarterback Jim Cardwell - 18 carries for 91 yards and two rushing touchdowns - directed the offense in a near-perfect effort, while the offensive and defensive lines played a complete 48 minutes.
"This was a total effort against a very good football team," said coach Reynolds. "Our kicking game and special teams did an excellent job.
"South Pittsburg (6-2) has a great program, Vic Grider and his staff do an excellent job and have big play athletes so every play was important tonight and everyone had to step up."
In the state's marquee game of the night - in a battle of No.1 ranked teams (South Pittsburg in 1A and Boyd-Buchanan in 2A) - maybe no one stepped it up bigger and better than Boyd-Buc senior running back Rance Harden who had a stellar night with 136 yards on 33 carries and three touchdowns and an interception on defense.
Quick Start: Harden was the key to the Bucs' 21-0 lead in the first quarter as he accounted for two of those scores while playing strong on a defense which forced South Pittsburg to punt on its first four possessions.
"They whipped us at the point of attack, were more physical up front than we were and brought the fight to us," said South Pittsburg coach Vic Grider.
The Bucs (8-0) scored three of the first four times they touched fhe football - drives of four, seven and six plays - as Cardwell had a one yard run at 8:10 of the first, quickly followed by Harden's tough runs up the middle to the Pirates end zone of three and seven yards. Caleb Antwine's extra points had it 21-0 with 47 seconds remaining in the first quarter and South Pitt had yet to earn a first down.
Key Play to First Score: After the Bucs punted on their first possession of the game, senior Thatcher Smith recovered a South Pitt fumble - the first of two Pirate turnovers on the night - at the South Pitt 12 and Cardwell scored four plays later.
"We were able to get back in the ball game in the second half and were within two scores (28-14 with 5:59 remaining in the third quarter), but their offense answered our challenge with that long scoring drive to make it 35-14," Grider stated.
Talented Demetric Johnson kept the Pirates within striking distance with scoring runs of 85 yards with 7:35 before intermission and an 83-yard sprint down the left sideline at the 5:59 mark of the third quarter. On the night, he tallied 251 yards on 14 carries and the two scores.
"They are so explosive that you cannot let up even for one play," coach Reynolds stated.
But the Bucs had an answer for Johnson's long scoring runs.
Bucs Ready With an Answer: Leading 21-7 following Johson's first touchdown, Cardwell then directed the Blue and Gold on a 9-play, 53-yard scoring drive which ate up nearly four minutes off the clock for a 28-7 advantage. Cardwell capped the drive with a 16-yard scoring run around left end set up by a key block by Chase Miller. Cardwell set up the drive as he returned the Pirates kickoff 30 yards to just shy of midfield.
On their second possesion after Johnson's second score, Cardwell again led the Bucs on a time- absorbing, touchdown drive - 81 yards, 14 plays, 8:12 off the clock - to make it 35-14 with 5:30 remaining in the fourth quarter.
South Pitts' Kahlil Mitchell closed the scoring with a 1-yard run to make it 35-21 with 1:21 remaining capping an 80-yard drive.
"Boyd-Buchanan is a veteran, talented football team with lots of seniors," said coach Grider. "They didn't do anything tricky. Just lined up and played excellent football."
Important Win: "Outside of winning a state title, this is the biggest game of the year," said Boyd-Buc senior Austin Bailey. "We had lost to them the last two years so this was a big one tonight.
"Many of us watched film of South Pittsburg every day this week in preparation for tonight and it paid off."
Undefeated Before Meeting South Pittsburg
In 2012, the Bucs were 7-0 and beat SP on the road, 35-21 ...
In 2011, the Bucs were 8-0 and lost at home to SP, 26-10 ...
In 2008, the Bucs were 6-0 and lost to SP (7-6) on the way to a 10-3 season ...
In 1999, Boyd-Buc was 4-0 and lost to SP, 17-14, on the way to an 11-2 record ... and also lost to SP (35-21) in the state tournament
In 1996, Boyd Buc was 1-0, and beat SP on the road (17-6) and went on to a 10-0 regular season record before losing to BGA (21-7) in the second round of the playoffs.
Boyd-Buchanan 35, South Pittsburg 21
BBS 21 - 7 - 0 - 7 -- 35
SP - 0 -7 - 7 - 7 -- 21
Records: Boyd-Buchanan (8-0) South Pittsburg (6-2)
Stats and Notes to Follow ...
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com
scored two of those
"Our offensive line did a great job and our backs ran tough all night," said senior Austin who plays offensive and defense line
in a high school football