Boyd-Buchanan football coach Grant Reynolds never once mentioned anything to his players this week about them reaching the top of the Class 2A state rankings.
The seventh-year Buccaneers coach waited to address it just before kickoff of what turned out to be a solid 37-7 beatdown of district rival Grace Academy on Friday night at David L. Boyd Field.
"I just told them that other locker rooms would be gunning for them from now on, and I encouraged them to play like they were No. 1," Reynolds said with a smile. "I thought we got off to a great start, and, well, the kids started playing like champions tonight."
The top-ranked Bucs were dominating in all phases of the game from an efficient offense to a stingy defense; they turned it into a no-doubter by the halftime horn.
Boyd-Buchanan (5-0, 2-0) led 28-0 at the break as quarterback Jim Cardwell's arm and legs paced touchdown drives on its first four possessions.
"We had a little bit of pep in our step this week about the ranking, but none of that really matters until the playoffs anyway. We just stuck to our bread and butter tonight," Cardwell said after running for two TDs rushing and throwing for another.
If running is the Bucs' bread -- as witnessed by another team stacking the line to slow the powerful rushing attack -- then passing is the butter. Cardwell was 7-for-7 on the night for 95 yards and hit six receivers in spreading the wealth.
He scored the Bucs' first TD on an elusive 24-yard scamper and sneaked one in from the 1 to make it 14-0 in the first period. Rance Harden, who had 120 rushing yards in 13 carries, made it 21-0 on a 10-yard burst, and Cardwell ended the first-half scoring with a perfect 12-yard pass to Austin Hall.
The Bucs defense rose to the occasion in thwarting what had been a very proficient Grace Academy offense, limiting the Eagles (1-4, 0-1) to 112 rushing yards on 35 tries. In fact, 26 of those carries netted less than 4 yards.
"I thought we played well on defense against a very good offense," Reynolds said.
Harden added a sack in the end zone on a botched punt by Grace, and Cameron Pope burst off tackle on a 40-yard jaunt to make it 37-0 in the third period as Reynolds cut his bench loose.
Cardwell added 109 yards on his nine carries, and Pope had 83 on 10 rushes in a 337-yard rushing outburst. The Bucs outgained the Eagles 432-172 in total yards.
The Eagles' Will Stack did have 50 yards on eight carries, and Josh Smith had a TD toss of 27 yards to Drew Shumaker to avoid the shutout.
The Bucs will host Donelson Christian Academy next Friday, while Grace travels to Copper Basin for another District 5A battle.
Contact James Beach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6273.