published Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Thomas helps Bucs hold on

Apparently Boyd-Buchanan's Kyle Thomas doesn't care for wasting time.

Hoping he would get the chance to redeem himself Friday after his turnover killed the Buccaneers' chances of running out the clock with a two-point lead at Howard, his moment of opportunity in the high school game came one play later.

Thomas intercepted a pass, and for good measure ended up with two in the final two and a half minutes and Boyd-Buchanan came away with a 20-12 victory.

Although Boyd-Buchanan moved to 4-0 and Howard fell to 0-3, winning was anything but easy for the Bucs.

"We can't do anything easy," Boyd-Buchanan coach Grant Reynolds said.

Leading 14-12, the Bucs were hoping their possession that began with six minutes remaining would be the final one in the game. It looked promising as they marched to Howard's 36 in six plays,

On second-and-7, quarterback Jim Cardwell connected with Thomas for a first down, but Hustlin' Tigers defenders raked the ball out as he was being tackled, and they took over at their 18.

Howard quarterback Terrance Brooks threw toward what he thought was an open teammate for first-down yardage on the ensuing play, but Thomas cut in front of the intended receiver and made a lunging grab.

"I was feeling awful," Thomas said. "I felt like I had let the team down. I was thinking, 'I've got to make up for this.' I knew they were going with an out route and just broke on the ball and made the play."

Chase Reed tacked on a 15-yard touchdown run but missed the extra point with 1:15 to play, leaving it a one-possession game. This time it took two Brooks passes before Thomas came up with another interception.

"We had one but got two back," Reynolds said of the late-game turnover situation. "Kyle Thomas did a good job coming up and picking off those two passes. If you're going to play in the secondary, and especially if you play both ways, you've got to have a short memory."

Boyd-Buchanan got its offense from the dual rushing attack of Reed and John Hale, combined with a short passing game. Reed ended up with 118 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, and Hale added 86 on 18 attempts and also had a TD run.

Cardwell completed nine passes to seven receivers in the first half. The longest went 19 yards to Reed on a shuffle pass.

"We kept giving up that little pass in the flat all night," Howard coach Michael Callaway said. "It was a learning experience. We've got to get better."

The Tigers' offense came primarily from a set with a full-house backfield, until they were forced to throw late. LaWayne Ruffin paced Howard with 92 rushing yards on the first three carries of the game and 10 more in the second half. He scored the Tigers' second TD.

"Ruffin clearly runs hard every day in practice, so we want to try to give him the ball," Callaway said. "But he's the captain on defense and makes the calls. We need him to play there, too."

about Kelley Smiddie...

Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com.

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