Baconton Charter School head coach Johnny Hayes sends sophomore receiver C.J. Everson into the game with a play during the first quarter of his team’s game with rival Pelham at Centennial Field in Camilla Friday night. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)
As anyone who’s followed the sport will tell you, the football gods are fickle and who they smile upon usually changes from week to week. Unfortunately for the Baconton Blazers, they were not in the gods’ favor the second straight week, falling to the Pelham Hornets 42-0.
“Well, they really had a great week of practice,” Pelham head coach Frankie Carroll said of his team. “We played two big schools in the scrimmages and that helped us get ready. Our coaches did a great job. The gameplan was on point offensively and defensively.”
The matchup was lopsided. Earlier this week, the Blazers lost their starting quarterback, sophomore Tre Williams, to an ankle injury.
As both teams employ the run-heavy Wing-T offense, falling behind by two or more scores can prove to be disastrous when the offense stalls, even with a healthy starting quarterback. But it’s usually not in the team’s gameplan to throw the ball downfield often.
“The Wing-T is not a come-from-behind offense,” Blazers coach Johnny Hayes said. “It’s ball control and winning it in the fourth quarter if you can. Obviously we got behind early, had to play behind the chains, and that’s a tough situation. But we are what we are, we’re just going to keep plugging away and try to get better every week. That’s the only thing I know to do.”
The night started out on a bad note for the home team. On the first play from scrimmage after the Blazers went three-and-out to start the game, Desmond Parker got the ball on a pitch and sprinted 82 yards past the defense to strike first, and Pelham never looked back. The Hornets scored on their first five possessions and turned the game into a rout early.
“They know that we’re not going to win games on athletic ability,” Hayes said. “We’re not just going to line up against Pelham or a Mitchell County, Terrell County, Miller County and outrun them. We’re going to have to win on fundamentals, discipline, and effort. They know that, they accept it, and tonight it just didn’t work for us.”
The Hornets pounded their way to 263 first-half rushing yards, highlighted by Desmond Parker, who had 132 yards and a touchdown on just three carries.
“Desmond’s a great player,” Carroll said. “He’s nursing a little sprained ankle, so after those couple runs we just took him out and tried to let him rest as much as he could.”
The Hornet defense held Baconton to less than 100 yards of total offense in the game. The Blazers had only two penalties compared to the Hornets’ six. However, it failed to help the Blazers.
“I thought the performance was pretty good at times,” Hayes said. “We don’t have our starting quarterback or center, and playing a school like (Pelham), it makes things difficult. They’re the best football team we’ll play this year, and the best-coached team. Coach Carroll does a great job, we knew we were going to have to play hard and catch a few breaks, and obviously that didn’t happen. But I’m proud of our kids, they never quit, and that’s all we can ask them to do: play hard.”
Timothy Dennard intercepted a pass for the home team in a losing effort. Cassius Allen added four catches for 60 yards and a touchdown for Pelham.
The Blazers fell to 0-2 on the season, while Pelham moved to 1-0.
The Hornets will host Mitchell County next Friday, while Baconton plays host to Schley County.