Friday, September 21, 2012
- by B.B. Branton
Baylor coach Phil Massey and his staff preached all week about playing disciplined football and leaving the field with no regrets.
The Red Raiders stayed disciplined for most of the 48 minutes, weathered early Tornado touchdowns in the first quarter and another in the final two minutes to come away with a thrilling 28-26 victory over arch rival McCallie Friday night at Finley Stadium.
Baylor, which trailed 14-0 in the first quarter, led 28-20 with just under five minutes in the game, but lost the ball on a fumble to give McCallie one last chance.
Playing before an energized crowd of 10,000+, junior quarterback Nelson Johnston then drove the Blue Tornado 61 yards in 10 plays and found Spencer Morgan open in the back of the Baylor end zone for his second touchdown pass of the night to pull McCallie within two, at 28-26 with 1:24 remaining.
McCallie running back Chad Toliver was stopped short of the goal line on the potential tying 2-point conversion, Baylor then recovered the on-sides kick and ran out the clock to gain the win.
"That defensive stand on the 2-point conversion at the end was, of course, huge in this game, but I hope that it will give our guys confidence as we face a tough Brentwood Academy team at home next Friday," coach Massey stated.
Baylor improves to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the region, while McCallis is 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the region.
McCallie's Early Lead: McCallie had the momentum early and scored on two long drives in the first quarter, only to see Baylor respond with a pair of second quarter scores of its own to make it 14-14 at half.
Johnston orchastrated the two time-consuming drives - 73 and 77 yards on a total of 20 plays - to eat up 7:30 of the 12 minute opening quarter. Chad Toliver (50 yards on 14 carries) scored twice, both times from two yards out.
"We were a little stunned early by McCallie's first two scores, but were able to remain focused and put together a scoring drive," said Massey
Baylor Rallies: Baylor quarterback Michael O'Conner led the Red Raiders on two scoring drives before intermission to tie the game, 14-14.
George Porter (94 yards on 17 carries) reached the Blue Tornado end zone on an 11-yard run (10:59 before halftime) for Baylor's first talley and five minutes later O'Conner then found Jeff Bowens open in the middle of the field for an 86 pitch-and-catch play as Bowens outraced the McCallie secondary to the end zone.
"McCallie was defending a lot to the outside and Jeff was able to get open in the middle and made the long run," said O'Conner.
"We had a good balance of running and passing tonight and were able to move the ball after the first quarter," stated O'Conner who had never played before more than 2,000 fans in Canada prior to transferring to Baylor this year.
O'Conner was 8-0f-12 for 215 yards, one touchdown and one interception and one rushing touchdown, while his counterpart (Nelson Johnston) was 10-of-15 for 134 yards and two touchdown passes.
"Since pre-season practice, my teammates have told me of the importance of the McCallie rivalry."
In the oldest high school rivalry in the state - one which started in 1905 - Baylor leads 43-35-3, including winning the last five games.
After exchanging punts in the third quarter, Baylor capitalized on a McCallie fumble deep in its own territory and fullback Houston Clements scored five plays later from three yards out to give the Red Raiders their first lead of the game, 21-14 at 6:03 of the quarter.
"I thought turnovers would decide the outcome and we gave them a short field in the third quarter which led to a touchdown and gave them momentum," said McCallie coach Ralph Potter.
But Johnston and the Blue Tornado offense responded with a 54-yard scoring drive lust before the end of the third quarter on a Johnston to Eric Wolf 10-yard scoring play to make it 21-20 but the extra point was blocked.
O'Conner scored on a 1-yard run with 8:45 remaining in the game for the 28-20 lead before McCallie's final drive.
" I am proud of our players as their effort was great and they fought hard," said Potter.
Fumbles and INTs: McCallie lost two fumbles (one led to a Baylor score), while Baylor lost one fumble (led to McCallie's final touchdown) and also had one interception.
Late in the second quarter, McCallie was near midfield, but the drive ended on a lost fumble.
Penalties were also a factor as McCallie, tied at 14-14, had a long touchdown pass called back in the second quarter because of holding.
"This was a prize fight among two good teams and we were the last team standing," said Massey.
Baylor Wins Kicking Game: Baylor kicker Rafael Gaglianone put four of five kickoffs in the McCallie end zone for only 19 return yards and converted on 4-of-4 extra points ... McCallie's Peter Phllips missed one extra point attempt in the first quarter and had another attempt blocked in the third quarter.
"The blocked extra point by Landry Taylor proved to be huge, because McCallie had to go for two points after the final touchdown, just to tie the game," said coach Massey.
Top Rushers: McCallie (Alex Trotter, 12 for 115 yards); Baylor (George Porter, 17 for 94 yards, 2 TDs)
Top Receivers: McCallie (Spencer Morgan, 5 for 80, 1 TD) Baylor (Jeff Bowens, 4 for 152, 1 TD)
Baylor 28, McCallie 26
Baylor 0 - 14 - 7 - 7 -- 28
McCallie 14 - 0 - 6 - 6 -- 26
1st Quarter - (8:12) McCallie - Chad Toliver 2 yd run (Peter Phillips kick failed), 9-73 3:48 - 6-0
(3:16) MCCallie - Chad Toliver 2 yd run (Toliver pass from Nelson Johnston), 11-77 3:42, - 14-0
2nd Quarter - (10:59) Baylor - George Porter 11 yd run (Rafael Gagliano kick), 8-62 4:08, 14-6
(6:10) Baylor - Jeffery Bowens 86 yd pass from Michael O'Conno (Rafael Gagliano kick), 2-91 1:16, 14-14
3rd Quarter - (6:03) Baylor - Houston Clements 3 yd run (Rafael Gagliano kick), 5-15 2:09, Baylor, 21-14
(00:32) McCallie - Eric Wolf 10 yd pass from Nelson Johnston (Peter Phillips kick blocked), 4-54 1:33, Baylor, 21-20
4th Quarter (08:45) Baylor - Michael O'Connor 1 yard run (Rafael Gagliano kick), 10-67 3:41, Baylor, 28-20
(1:24) McCallie - Spencer Morgan 22 yd pass from Nelson Johnston (Chad Toliver rush failed), 10-61 3:20, Baylor 28-26
First Downs: McCallie, 26-12
Rushing: McCallie, 223-120
Passing: Baylor, 215-134
Total Offense: McCallie, 357-335
Fumbles Lost: Baylor (3-1), McCallie (4-2)
Penalties: Baylor (7-72), McCallie (2-17)
Time of Possession: McCallie (24:18), Baylor (23:42)
Third Down Conversions: Baylor (6 of 11), McCallie (3 of 8)
Fourth Down Conversions: Baylor (1 of1), McCallie (2 of 2)
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com