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Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

PELHAM -- It doesn't matter if it's nations, infants or football programs, birth is often painful.

They know all about that at Baconton Charter, where the football program came kicking and screaming into existence Friday night when the Blazers played the first varsity football game in the school's history.

Instead of a doctor applying that smack into realty, it was Pelham's Hornets, who welcomed Baconton to the big time with a 50-14 victory against the brand new kids on the block in front of a standing room only crowd.

"My hats off to them. They're going to be all right,'' said Pelham coach Jim Morrell of Baconton. "They played hard all night. They got after it. They will be OK. They just need some more kids.''

More kids, more time --- but all the support is there right now.

"The thing I will never forget about (Friday night) is looking up at our crowd,'' said Baconton coach Glenn Palmer, who brought this program through two years of JV games to get to Friday night. "Our fans were going wild all night, even in the fourth quarter (when we were way behind). We've got that kind of support. We lost, but our fans don't care. They're just happy we're playing on Friday nights.''

Yes, Baconton has arrived.

And the Blazers landed in style. And they did have that one bright shining moment when they stopped Pelham cold on the first drive of the game, then took the ball and scored -- just like that.

James Davis ripped off a 50-yard TD run and then bounced into the end zone on a two-point conversion run and suddenly Baconton led, 8-0.

"We got the first touchdown and everyone was so high and feeling so good,'' Davis said. "It's like we had all the momentum. Then they scored right away, and it was like they took it all right back.''

Then Pelham took everything else.

The Hornets, coming off their first playoff season since 1992, looked as good as advertised, and quarterback Caleb Morrell looked better than advertised.

Morrell, the coach's son, brought Pelham right back after the Davis TD with a 69-yard TD pass to Kenneth Randall, and Maurice Young ran in for the two points to knot things at 8-8 with 7:13 left in the first quarter.

Pelham never looked back.

"They came out and stuffed us,'' coach Morrell said. "And then dadgum it, they take it to the house on the first pay. I was thinking: 'We're in for a dogfight.' "

It might have been, but Baconton had trouble holding onto the ball. The Blazers had eight fumbles (they lost three of them) in the first half, and it seemed every time Baconton made a mistake, Pelham was there with a big play.

Caleb Morrell threw three TD passes in the first half, hitting Randall for 69, Rodderick Williams for a 2-yard TD and finding Brandon Bostick, who made a bobbling catch-and-run for a 33-yard TD. Morrell also returned a punt 43 yards for a TD.

Darius Thomas had a 32-yard TD run and also returned a kickoff 83 yards for the final TD of the game with 8:37 left in the third quarter.

"I think we looked good,'' Morrell said of his team. "I saw some things we've got to work on, and we've got to be ready for Thomasville next week.''

Pelham looked more than ready Friday, taking a 43-8 lead at halftime and coasting in the second half with a running clock.

Davis scored both touchdowns for Baconton, ripping off a 9-yard run to start the third quarter to go along with his 50-yard dash. He finished the game with 137 yards on 12 carries, and will go down in history as the first Blazer to score a varsity touchdown.

"I feel good about the program,'' Davis said. 'It's something I've always wanted since I came to Baconton.

Everyone is glad we have a football team. As far as (Friday night), we just have to get better -- better at the fundamentals, better at the little things.''

It doesn't get easier. Baconton travels to Lee County next week to play the Class AAAA Trojans. Still, for Palmer and his team, Friday was just the first step -- a huge first step.

"We just have to get better, better every day,'' he said. "I wish it had been closer, but we turned the ball over too many times, had too many fumbles and gave up big plays. We have some (tough games) early in our schedule, but I think we have some games down the road (the second half of the season) where we will be more competitive.''

That's Baconton, always looking ahead.